Huddle 2018 - Content Hub

5 challenges we face communicating in a virtual world

During Harvard Business Review’s compelling Huddle session, Dr. Nick Morgan, a top communication theorist and the author of “Can You Hear Me? Talked about ‘How to Connect with People in a Virtual World”. 

Firstly, let’s address the five challenges of the virtual world: 

Lack of feedback:  How many times have you muted a conference call and not given it 100% of your attention?  Doing this limits the two-way interaction even further.

Lack of Empathy:  Saying something mean to someone face to face, you see the impact and understand the implications of your actions on another person.  When you comment online, you don’t see any impact.  It’s easier to be mean online.

Lack of Control:  Machines are consistent, humans are not.  We have no control over our long-term digital footprint, no matter how much we wish we could…  

Lack of Emotion:  Lack of emotion makes decisions much more difficult.  Patient HM had a stroke in his amygdala (the emotional hub in our brains).  Post stroke, HM was unable to make even the simplest decision, including what tea to drink with breakfast. 

Lack of Connections:  Have you ever noticed that your Amazon experience is always the same. When you do use another online service and it’s not quite the same, more often than not, you are quickly tempted to go back to Amazon and the familiarity.   

So what can we do?

  1. Ask “How does what I have just said made you feel?” Not only can this help you think about what you say but also gives the other person a chance to share their thoughts and feelings 
  2. Establish the non-verbal norms you would otherwise pick up face to face – start each conference call with a traffic light:  Green – Everything is awesome, Amber – Everything is OK, Red – grrrrr! 
  3. Embrace emoji’s, memes, gifs, stickers and anything else!  They may seem childish but they are (for now at least) the best we have, to show emotion in the virtual world.  ;-)