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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Challenges for Managers in Text-based Interactions

Even when using avatars, text-based interactions can be difficult. One often feels they need to be more and more precise with their words, which can filter out important emotive content that would have been expressed with body language or vocal quality. So what are managers to do?

Well, I think that managers can learn a "right-brain" approach to this issue from the spirit of narrative medicine. The literature has shown that as students become more scientific in their approach to medicine, their empathy decreases. The idea is that using a patient's story can get analytical information from a patient that may not be produced using only traditional methods of inquiry. How does this relate to managing in synthetic worlds?

Managers should not only communicate hard facts, but also stories to paint a picture of what success means to the team, how one's actions relate to the whole, and the ideal situation to strive for. Stories coupled with hard facts can relate a richer message in text-based interactions. Of course, you could just switch to voice if that's available. LOL! ;-)

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