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  • six minutes english from BBC learning english dot com.

  • Hello, this is six minute English from BBC Learning English, I'm Neil and I'm Sam When Neil and I record six minute English, face to face in the BBC Learning English studio, which I'm happy to say we are doing right now.

  • We look at each other as we speak.

  • We smile and use hand gestures and facial expressions in a type of communication called body language.

  • But during the covid pandemic, everyday meetings with work colleagues, teachers and friends and six minute english recordings all moved online.

  • Video meetings using software like zoom and Skype became the normal way to communicate with family and friends and whatever happens with Covid in the future.

  • It seems they're here to stay in this program.

  • We'll be asking how has body language changed in the world of online video meetings will meet the person who wrote the rule book for clear communication in the digital age.

  • Erica Darwin, author of a new book, Digital Body Language.

  • Before that, I have a question for you Sam and it's about Erica Darwin.

  • She may be a communications expert now, but growing up in pennsylvania, she was a shy and quiet schoolgirl.

  • So how did Erica beat her shyness and become the confident communicator she is today.

  • Did she a attend public speaking classes, Be copy the body language of the cool kids at school or see raise her hand to answer the teacher's questions even if she didn't know the answer our guests see she raised her hand to answer the teacher's questions.

  • Ok, Sam will reveal the correct answer.

  • Later in the program.

  • In face to face meetings.

  • We immediately see someone's reaction to what we said through eye contact, where two people look into each other's eyes as they talk.

  • Unfortunately, using a web camera to make eye contact is almost impossible in online meetings and this often creates a kind of distancing effect.

  • Erica Darwin makes several suggestions to help with this, see if you can hear the final suggestions she makes to Michael Rosen as purse of BBC Radio four word of mouth and last but not least slow down.

  • Remember when it was completely normal to have a one minute pause in a room with one another because we knew we were thinking and brainstorming.

  • If we don't hear someone speak on video, we has them.

  • If they're on mute practice what I call the five second rule, wait five seconds before speaking to make sure individuals have time to process the ideas, especially if they're maybe technology or accessibility issues.

  • Did you hear Erica's last piece of advice Neil?

  • Yes, she recommends slowing down something We do naturally face to face when we're thinking or brainstorming.

  • That's discussing suggestions with a group of people to come up with new ideas or to solve problems, slowing down gives us time to process new information to understand it by thinking carefully and reflecting on it.

  • Erica compares online body language to learning a new language.

  • It takes practice, especially when it comes to smiling and laughing something Michael Rosen finds hard to do in video meetings.

  • Listen to him discussing this problem with Erica Darwin for BBC Radio 4's word of mouth.

  • Do you think it's killing off people laughing and smiling and the way we do when we're all together in the live situation?

  • I would say that it is much less likely that we laugh and smile on camera for a few reasons.

  • # one laughing is often done in unison, where we can quickly pick up the energy of someone smiling or laughing and feed off of that and laugh ourselves when it comes to screen delays the fact that it's not natural to see our own camera being distracted by that we are much less likely to laugh and smile.

  • One of the ways we can overcome this is by creating intentional moments in our meetings for the water cooler effect.

  • Erica points out that laughing often happens in unison together and at the same time, Yes, if someone starts laughing, it makes me laugh too.

  • She also thinks it's important to make time for employees to chat informally about things unrelated to work the weekend plans or last night's tv show.

  • And she uses the expression the water cooler effect, which comes from the United States, where office workers sometimes meet at the water fountain to chat.

  • So the water cooler effect refers to informal conversations that people have in their office or workplace, maybe in the lift the office kitchen or if there is one by an actual water cooler, Erica Darwin seems very comfortable communicating online, but she's had lots of time to practice since her school days.

  • Yes Neil in your quiz question, you asked how Erica conquered her shyness at school?

  • I guess that she raised her hand to answer the teacher's questions.

  • It was a good guess sam but the correct answer is b she copied the body language of her cool teenage classmates.

  • So probably lots of rolled eyes and slouching.

  • Okay, let's recap the vocabulary from this program about online body language, non verbal ways of communicating.

  • Using the body eye contact is when two people look at each other's eyes at the same time, brainstorming involves a group discussion to generate new ideas or solutions.

  • When we process information, we think about it carefully in order to understand it in unison, means happening together and at the same time.

  • And finally the water cooler effect is an american expression to describe informal conversations between people at work, Neil is looking at his watch, which is body language that tells me are six minutes are up, goodbye for now.

  • Goodbye.

six minutes english from BBC learning english dot com.

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