cover image Digital Body Language: How to Build Trust and Connection No Matter the Distance

Digital Body Language: How to Build Trust and Connection No Matter the Distance

Erica Dhawan. St. Martin’s, $28.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-24652-3

Building trust among remote work teams is no small feat, advises executive coach Dhawan (Get Big Things Done) in this sharp, timely treatise on the importance of translating body language to the digital space. Nonverbal cues, she writes, make up such a large part of communication that learning to function without them is a new skill: virtual employees face “widespread misunderstanding and conflict,” which has led to anxiety, distrust, and paranoia. To counter this, Dhawan offers four laws of digital body language: value visibly, communicate carefully, collaborate confidently, and trust totally. She shows readers how to make colleagues feel valued without handshakes or in-person eye contact by, for instance, avoiding multitasking during meetings and sending emails in a rush; navigate power plays that come in the form of ambiguous digital communication such as overly-formal or one-word answers (she advises getting a second opinion when in doubt); and manage generational differences (understanding preferences is key for such decisions as when to use emoji). Dhawan’s high-energy advice comes right on time: “As we all know by now, video meetings are far from perfect, with many feeling decidedly uncollaborative... but there are ways around this.” Anyone trying to find their way through the new normal of office life will learn something from this real-world guide to respectful, productive communication. (May)