Digital body language by Erica Dhawan

Review by Josie Pether, Event Manager at The Howard de Walden Estate

This month’s book review is written by mentee Josie Pether, Event Manager at The Howard de Walden Estate on the ever-topical book Digital Body Language: How to Build Trust and Connection, No Matter the Distance’ by author Erica Dhawan.

Josie chose this book to keep up with the current trends of our digital way of working and to explore different avenues of communicating with her colleagues and other event professionals in this new and digital world.


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

Book by Erica Dhawan

  • A whopping 70% of communications now take place across digital platforms
  • The average person receives 30 emails and fields 96 emails a day
  • 50% of the time tone is misinterpreted in digital communications

So how can we remain connected when a screen divides us?

Digital Body Language by global speaker, TED talker and CEO, Erica Dhawan is the perfect book to read during a pandemic with the majority of us continuing to work from home. The book explores communications from large conferences and video meetings to daily emails, texts, IMs, and conference calls—and offers insights and solutions to build trust and clarity whilst communicating digitally.

A theme that particularly resonated with me, is the need to find the balance between a busy inbox and coherent communication. Whilst my intention can often be to communicate efficiently with colleagues and suppliers whilst working under extreme time pressure just before an event, I will certainly be thinking more carefully in future about communications that could be interpreted as too direct.

Much of this comes down to the recipient and the ‘Trust and Power Matrix’.

We communicate differently with those who we have low trust and high power relationships with, such as a high-level executive or CEO you’ve had minimal encounters with compared to colleagues who may also be friends and therefore have strong trust / power relationships.

The author gives an example where she emailed a company CEO starting ‘Just following up, I know you are really busy’, with the aim of showing how she valued her time and to counter insecurities about following up, however, this choice of wording was ill-received by the recipient due to the low trust / power gap between the pair. This is a sentence I have written numerous times and this book helps to advise how to correctly communicate with colleagues or clients within different areas of the matrix.

Whilst slightly repetitive at times, I would recommend this book for anyone leading or working within a team digitally to ensure your digital communications does not become lazy or misinterpreted and become a pro at communicating digitally.

Josie Pether fc

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