Virtual Intelligence in the Post-Pandemic Era: Human Communication Challenges and Best Practices

Virtual Intelligence in the Post-Pandemic Era: Human Communication Challenges and Best Practices

Leigh Thompson
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 31
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-3894-7.ch007
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Numerous yet deceptively subtle differences between virtual and face-to-face communication profoundly influence organizational performance, team interaction, and psychological well-being. This chapter identifies the “Big 10” factors that affect human communication in virtual mediums: (1) mutual gaze, (2) directional gaze, (3) objective self-awareness, (4) seating configurations, (5) back-channel utterances, (6) side conversations, (7) touching, (8) gesturing, (9) collisions (unplanned face to face encounters between colleagues), and (10) shared context. This chapter then examines research on each of these key factors, discusses how each affects virtual communication, and suggests best practices for overcoming and navigating these challenges.
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Is Vcq The Same As Eq?

Certainly, some of the social-cognitive skills involved in effective virtual communication might seem reminiscent of the classic emotional intelligence skills as articulated by Daniel Goleman and his colleagues (Goleman, Boyatis, & McKee, 2013) and also Peter Salovey and colleagues (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). However, the use of classic “EQ” skills requires modification in a virtual medium. Traditional EQ (emotional intelligence) skills are not sufficient to communicate effectively in the new virtual communication era, ushered in by the Covid19 pandemic.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Lexical Cuing: Short speech acts that cue or guide others to contribute.

Chameleon Effect: The nonconscious mimicry of the postures, mannerisms, facial expressions, and other behaviors to mirror those of one’s interaction partner.

Prosodic Cueing: Refers to everything about a communicator’s speech except the words themselves, such as rises and falls in intonation, final lengthening, and energy tapering.

Conversational Turn-Taking: A cue near the end of an utterance where the floor-holder (speaker) briefly gazes at the person who desires to speak (the interlocutor) to prepare to transfer control of floor.

Communication Bravado: A psychological effect where a speaker is under the faulty illusion that they are clearer and more effective than others regard them to be.

Zoom Fatigue: Mental fatigue, induced because the cues and signals that people normally monitor to guide behavior in social situations are absent or are obscured in virtual meetings.

Mutual Gaze: In a face-to-face setting, conversational interactants lock eyes with others several times during a meeting or conversation. These fleeting, but powerful experiences are known as “mutual gaze.”

Virtual Distance: The feeling of separation caused by a lack of face-to-face communication.

Collisions: Unplanned face to face encounters between colleagues, such as might occur in the coffee break area, elevator, or entering and exiting a building.

Psychological Safety: The means by which group leaders create environments in which people feel comfortable speaking up and in many cases, disagreeing with others, for the purpose of making informed, and principled decisions.

Virtual Communication Intelligence (aka VCQ): The ability to communicate and navigate relationships and achieve business goals when engaging with others who are not physically co-present.

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