Digital physique language for the post-pandemic period


The awkward pause on a Zoom name. The brusque, ambiguous e-mail. The context-free assembly invite. When on-line interactions are so simply misconstrued, efficient communication is important. Because the creator of the brand new guide Digital Physique Language, Erica Dhawan, MBA ’12, trains company leaders to attach fluently on this new period of distant work, with purchasers starting from the US Military to Pepsi to Deloitte.  

Her mission is deeply private, rooted in her reminiscences of being a timid elementary schooler in Pittsburgh. 

“My mother and father had been Indian immigrants, which meant that we spoke Hindi at dwelling. Once I obtained to high school, I used to be the quietest child within the class,” she remembers. “One of many strengths I developed as a result of I used to be so shy was a capability to watch and decipher physique language. I’d watch the favored ladies with their head tilted to the facet, the cool children slouching throughout college assemblies. I actually tried to assimilate to the world of American physique language.”

Quick-forward 30 years, and he or she’s utilizing that hard-won instinct to decode a digital-first world the place visible and written cues matter greater than ever. Along with her writing, she delivers keynotes to Fortune 500 firms—for the previous 5 years, at a fee of 40 to 70 talks per yr.  

“We’re all immigrants to the world of digital physique language,” she says. “I’m dedicated to constructing a motion of data and coaching for what I consider are the abilities of the brand new post-pandemic period.”

These expertise hinge on what she calls connectional intelligence. The idea, which prioritizes deep, high quality interactions, contrasts sharply with typical measures of digital success: variety of Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, or Zoom conferences per day.

“We’re residing in a digital communications disaster, the place the response is to attach extra as an alternative of connecting intelligently,” she says. Individuals with connectional intelligence perceive which conferences must be calls, and when to look instantly on the digicam throughout a Zoom to sign consideration: “They know to by no means confuse brevity with readability, that studying rigorously is the brand new listening, and writing clearly is the brand new empathy.” 

New methods of working prompted by the pandemic, she believes, may enable workplaces to grow to be “extra geographically inclusive, much less visually biased towards conventional physique language, and extra artistic about participating anybody, wherever, to be a part of an answer.” 

Dhawan has two kids and enjoys Bollywood dance in her spare time. Dancing, she says with fun, “taught me that once we’re connecting with others, every part is a efficiency.”


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