Three-quarters of our face-to-face communication with other people is given through nonverbal cues — the way we smile, hold our arms, raise or lower our voice, and so on. This body language is what helps us make a good impression, build rapport, and collaborate and create with others.
It’s no wonder then, that in an age where so much of our communication has moved to the digital realm, which is largely devoid of this body language, misunderstandings and miscommunications are so common.
My guest would say that the key to improving our digital communication is to translate the body language of the physical world into our texts, emails, and calls. Her name is Erica Dhawan, and she’s a leadership consultant and speaker, as well as the author of Digital Body Language: How to Build Trust and Connection No Matter the Distance. Today on the show, Erica explains the way things like how long it takes you to respond to a text, what punctuation you use in your messages, and how you sign off your emails can all affect the impression you make in your personal and professional relationships. We discuss the significance of exclamation points in our digital communication, using the example of how putting one after the word “sure” can convey a different meaning than using an ellipsis or nothing at all. Erica then gives her take on if and when to use emojis. From there we turn to how to avoid putting passive aggression into your messages, and how to deal with receiving messages that feel laden with such. We then unpack the best way to sign off on your emails. Erica explains how to choose the right communication channel — text, email, or video/phone — for your communication and the expectations as to how quickly you should respond to messages that are received on each respective medium. We end our conversation with what to do when someone’s digital communication style leaves you frustrated or confused.
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- Why does digital communication/body language cause such headaches?
- Real-world examples of digital comms gone wrong
- How do you show warmth and trust in the digital world?
- How can a single punctuation mark change the meaning of an email or text?
- Erica’s take on the all-important exclamation point
- Why you need to think before you emoji
- Passive aggressiveness in digital comms
- Closing an email
- The importance of reading and writing slowly and carefully
- When to switch communication channels
- How quickly should you respond to various types of messages?
- Managing and dealing with communication expectations
Resources/Articles/People Mentioned in Podcast
- Digital Manners and Etiquette for the Modern Man
- Men and Manners: Tipping, Emojies, and More
- How to Overcome Phone Shyness
- The 3 Elements of Charisma: Warmth
- Email Is Making Us Miserable
- 6 Tips for Writing Shorter Emails
- How to Write an Email That Will Actually Get a Response!
- How to Initiate Contact With a Woman Via Text
Connect With Erica
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Read the Transcript