We’re online, but we’re human

Sometimes, things heat up in meetings – especially when important, existential questions of the company are at stake.

Today, when we all meet online, things get even more difficult. When opinions drift apart, it’s easy to misunderstand what others try to say. The subtle subtexts of communication are rather muted over video: Gestures, facial expressions, the tone of voice – all these signals which we easily decode in interpersonal settings are much harder to recognise on a small screen. A single misunderstood word can quickly lead to a heated discussion when subtext is missing.

In online settings it’s vital to remember that we’re all humans, that nobody’s perfect, and that we’re all in this together. Everyone tries to do their best.

Being empathetic helps greatly: Did she really mean it that way? Was it maybe just poor wording? Might she even be right with her perspective? In times like these, everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt.

A few other means to keep it human: Always be polite. Let others finish before you disagree. Avoid destructive criticism and keep your comments constructive. Good ideas thrive in a constructive, forthcoming atmosphere.

Here’s a suggestion for your next meeting, online or offline: Start by saying something nice to someone!

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Dr. Michael Gerharz

Dr. Michael Gerharz

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