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Management is nothing more than motivating other people. Lee Iacocca

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Digital Body Language

Digital Body Language

How to take best advantage of digital communication tools?

Author(s): Erica Dhawan

Publisher: HarperCollins

Date of publication: 2021

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How can you get colleagues of diverse generations, diverse cultural backgrounds and diverse personal styles to collaborate when they rarely meet? Digital communication tools have enabled a new work organization. At the same time, they are challenging the smooth flow of exchanges and personal bonds. Emails, SMSs, IMs and videoconferencing tools remove distances, but they can also generate misunderstandings and tensions. It even happens that they trigger conflicts or feelings of anxiety.

To shed light on this paradox, Erica Dhawan, a specialist in collective performance, draws on the work of linguists and anthropologists. She shows how digital communication, deprived of the valuable body language, is forced to invent different non-verbal signals. Hence the array of emoticons, GIFs and abbreviations that dot our digital exchanges. This is clearly enough to feel confused as these uses are far from set! They vary from one generation to the next, from one culture to another, or even from one channel of communication to a different one. Thus, the author first invites us to take a step back and to not over-interpret our counterparts’ intentions. She also suggests, to avoid ambiguity, to agree on norms within the teams.

A useful book in daily life, written in a lively style.