Topic 2 Digital and Offline Communication

Digital communication is not the same as general communication. There are many benefits and challenges connected with online and offline interaction.

Digital communication allows for a faster exchange of messages even if the recipient of such messages is not in the same room, while presential communication allows for the interpretation of body language and helps the sender and recipient to engage more actively with each other. Through this topic, the participants learn how to differentiate both kinds of interaction and to be considerate of the benefits and challenges of both.

The change into a digital era over the last years resulted in more people communicating online than offline and face-to-face. How does such a shift influence human interaction? (Liebermann, Schroeder; 2019)

Many studies have shown that people act differently online than offline which, of course, is partly because you do not get the same input from the receiver of your messages as when you are talking to someone directly. Both the sender and the receiver of communication have to pay attention to their interaction and not changing one’s “offline” behaviour may result in misunderstandings.

It is always important to keep the different way of interaction in mind and change one’s behaviour accordingly.

Offline and Online

Materials: White paper

  • The participants sort communication scenarios/procedures into “this applies to me/this does not apply to me” and define if they are digital or offline.
  • The participants sort benefits/features and challenges of online and offline communication into two columns (4 columns in total)

Discuss the results of the sorting and if everyone agrees with the benefits and challenges or if some participants think differently and why.

The perfect situation

Materials: Post Its

The participants are asked to share multiple situations of communication, for example:

  • Informing someone of a deadline
  • Promoting a product or project
  • Introducing someone
  • Explaining instructions to someone

The participants are then asked to reflect on which situations can be properly implemented online and what situations are better done face-to-face.

Example: Introducing someone should either be done face-to-face or via video call. It is less recommended to do an introduction via email.

Identifying and recognizing the differences between digital and face-to-face communication is important in everyone’s professional and personal life. This topic revolved around the differences, benefits and challenges of online and offline communication and highlighting new perspectives through group discussions.