Digital body language

Research shows that about 60% to 80% of our in-person communication is non-verbal, such as pacing, pauses, gestures, and tone. All these cues bring energy and an emotional touch to our message.

  • In the digital world, non-verbal language is expressed by punctuation and the use of emojis.
  • Other signals will include greetings - if you include a"Hello" or just jump in, and how you end your message.
  • In written exchanges, the timing of your response can cause anxiety. If you delay your answer, it may seem like a lack of interest.



The digital body language cues you send – or don't send

Zoom doom

Video calls have their own problems.

  • In group calls, people could be asked to raise their hands before speaking or a moderator can ensure people stay on topic.
  • It is not advisable to multitask during these calls or to allow yourself to be distracted. It is very obvious if you are busy looking down at your computer. 
  • If you know there will be an interruption, such as an incoming phone call, it's more considerate to warn people in advance or to put a message in the chatbox.



In all your interactions, remain conscious of two factors: trust and power.

  • A manager should consider whether their brevity is regarded as efficient or as a general lack of interest.
  • We should be careful to express our appreciation. A handshake or smile used to give us those signals, but our gratitude is less evident in online communication. A simple remedy is to send a follow-up email after a virtual meeting to express that you valued someone's role or input.



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