Monday, February 28, 2011

Non-verbal Cues in the Virtual World

Non-verbal cues are often subjective.

"Perceptual information signs accompanying the words used in speech. "

Perceived is the perception of the receiver, not the transmitter. This is subjective. Thus, open to interpretation.

If everything is done (for the purpose of this discussion) on a computer, there would be no non-verbal cues to take into account. Thus, the only inferences one could make would be on the manner in which information is presented.

Now, case in point. Assumptions:

"For example, someone who asks a lot of questions may be [may be] extremely skilled and decisive. In fact they could be [could be] someone who is highly analytical and needs to see the whole picture before moving on."

This person, by way of metaphor, sent you a non-verbal clue by asking a lot of questions. That non-verbal clue you've taken into account is that "the person is highly analytical and needs to see the whole picture before moving on" [quotes mine for distinction] Again, for the purposes of this discussion, the non-verbal clue I perceived is that this person lacks confidence, based on his real or imaginary lack of subject matter knowledge.

To distinguish this, we may have to rely on other members of the group. If you and I are on the same team, you tell the leader that "Bill is analytical and needs to see the whole picture before moving on." I tell the team leader that Bill is an impediment. He prevents the group from moving on.

The leader now must assess whether Bill is qualified or not. Bill sent each of us non-verbal clues. Each of us came to a different conclusion. The team leader now must look for non-verbal clues. Is Cathy a sensitive and supportive team member who likes Bill's quest for answers? Is Cathy insecure and relies on Bill to provide a subterfuge? Also: Is Slim a goal oriented individual who finds Bill an impediment to productivity? Is Slim a rash and impulsive individual who may have a negative impact on the other members of the group by being brusque?

Well, Susan ( another member of the team) sees Slim as too theory X and feels intimidated. While Lorraine is fed up with Bill and is glad that Slim finally spoke up and put Bill in his place.

This is what really goes on in a group. And it doesn't matter whether we are co-located or virtual.

From the Quotations of Slim Fairview: "Did you ever notice, when people say, "you don't understand," what they really mean is, "you don't agree with me."

Sincerest regards,



Copyright (c) 2011 Slim Fairview

1 comment:

Quotes About Moving On said...

Interesting insight. Thanks.