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Progress comes from the intelligent use of experience. Elbert Hubbard

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Do you talk digital? ;-)

Do you talk digital? ;-)

Within two decades, digital communication has become omnipresent—albeit generating a certain number of difficulties. How can you master the codes of digital communication tools?


A silent revolution has happened: our professional communications have become mostly digital. According to a survey by Groupe Radicati, 70% of business communications are nowadays virtual. 306 billion emails are sent every day across the world! In France, an employee receives between 60 and 70 emails per day on average. And this does not include the increasing role of text messages, instant messages, collaborative platforms, videoconferencing, etc. In less than a generation, digital communication has emerged and taken over other forms of written and oral communication.

Yet, collaborating through these new channels does not only consist in transcribing online our previous habits. Linguists, anthropologists and communication specialists agree to say that it is a specific form of communication, which deeply transforms the language. Thus, punctuation marks take on a new meaning to enable us to specify our state of mind: enthusiasm, disappointment, humor… To compensate the lack of body language, we dot our messages with visual clues, such as emoticons or animated GIFs. In a more subtle manner, the digital channel that we use or even the time that we take to respond can become messages in their own right.

These new uses are far from being fully codified, and even less from being universal. Between the codes that are specifically employed within certain groups and the personal variations, the sources of misunderstanding are many—to the extent of generating relational difficulties. Like it did for this business leader, based in New York, who found it difficult to manage part of her team in Dallas. They found her to be curt and haughty. Yet, this was not at all like her! Investigating, she found out that her Texan team’s perception stemmed from her emails: they did not contain abbreviations, exclamation marks, emoticons. For younger staff, this represented an abrupt tone, hence not a really engaging personality.

Such misunderstandings are common. They are even identified as a new source of stress, both for the teams and for their managers. How can you improve your mastering of the digital language, both at an individual level and across the team?

In this synopsis:
– Smoothing up virtual meetings
– Harmonizing digital communications in your team
– Digital and intercultural communication: beware of the combined risks!

Synopsis n.305a