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How can we simulate online the informal spaces that are decision-making spaces in many cultures?

In the spirit of advancing virtual communication and collaboration, we have been working with some of our trainers to develop strategies for designing training content online that meets the quality standards of the New Normal. An important challenge here is to figure out how to deal with different communication and working styles, especially in high-context cultures, in terms of content online and to create informal spaces accordingly. Where it used to be possible to change rooms between meetings and make a stop in the coffee kitchen on the way to the next session, in the New Normal you click from one virtual meeting to the next. Only the head and torso are visible, which is why there are limitations in communicating between the lines, interpreting body language or states of mind.

Especially in international contexts, communication online must be expanded, enriched and rethought. The more media and tools are applied synchronously or asynchronously in trainings, the more clearly information and knowledge can be conveyed and misunderstandings in (in)direct communication styles can be circumvented.

Thus, meetings in the New Normal can consist of synchronous and asynchronous phases. It can make sense to try to settle conflicting issues synchronously (phone, F2F, Skype/Webex/Teams) and to discuss communication situations like asking (understanding) questions, making decisions, brainstorming, check-ups, documentation, getting feedback, asynchronously (chat, whiteboard, mentimeter).

With all the adjustments that come with the New Normal, it is also important to redefine rituals and routines. Creating informal spaces in the form of „virtual coffee kitchens“ or chill-out spaces for shared lunches, provide a space for participants to meet, reveal their personal sides, and show their social presence in the space.

Feel free to discuss this with us on LinkedIN.



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