Digital Body Language Book Summary - Digital Body Language Book explained in key points
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Digital Body Language summary

Erica Dhawan

How to Build Trust and Connection, No Matter the Distance

4.4 (226 ratings)
28 mins
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    Digital Body Language
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    If you want to communicate effectively in the virtual age, you need to tune into your digital body language.

    Here’s an all too common story. 

    Laura and Dave were having a fight via text. Back and forth it went – for hours. Finally, Laura gave up and typed, So r we thru? Dave replied, I guess so. Devastated by the loss of her three-year relationship, Laura called in sick to work the next day. That night, Dave showed up at her door, wondering why she hadn’t come to dinner as planned. 

    You can probably tell where this is going. Laura thought they were through, while Dave meant they were through arguing. Oops.

    Laura and Dave aren’t alone in their confusion. We send each other an unbelievable amount of messages every day. And a lot of these messages are taken the wrong way. Take email. 306 billion emails are exchanged each day; the average person sends 30 and receives 96. According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the tone of our emails is misinterpreted 50 percent of the time!

    Our bewilderment boils down to the fact that we’re cue-less – in the most literal sense. Anthropologist Edward T. Hall had a name for the nonverbal cues – things like eye contact, smiles, pauses, yawns, tone, volume, posture, and proximity – which make up nearly three-quarters of face-to-face communication. He called them “the silent language.” 

    Problem is, the silent language isn’t exactly visible from behind a screen. And the gap between intention and interpretation in the digital world is only made bigger by the online disinhibition effect. This happens when we let loose and express ourselves with a level of informality we’d never entertain offline.

    What does this all say for the modern workplace, where roughly 70 percent of communication among teams is virtual? Or for our personal lives, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, where socialization online is more frequent than in-person meetups?

    In these blinks, I’m going to explore our understanding of body language and redefine it for the contemporary world. By focusing on how we say something, as well as on what we say – in other words, by becoming aware of our digital body language – I believe we can increase productivity, boost mental well-being, and ensure we’re our best selves, even online.

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    What is Digital Body Language about?

    Digital Body Language (2021) is your rulebook to clear online communication. Combining cutting-edge research with personal know-how, it demystifies the digital signals that so often stand in for traditional body language.

    Who should read Digital Body Language?

    • Leaders and employees seeking more streamlined digital collaborations
    • Virtual workers who want to improve their online tone and clarity
    • Anyone who’s struggled to convey what they really mean from behind a screen

    About the Author

    Erica Dhawan is an expert on collaboration in the twenty-first century. She is the founder and CEO of Cotential, a consultancy that helps companies, leaders, and managers leverage collaboration skills and behaviors to maximize their performance. Dhawan has delivered over 200 keynotes around the world, hosts the award-winning podcast Masters of Leadership, and is the coauthor of the best-selling book Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence. 

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