We Need to Work on Our “Digital Body Language”, Says an Online Communication Expert

My conversation with author and digital body language expert Erica Dhawan

Ximena Vengoechea
7 min readMay 14, 2021


I recently had the chance to connect with author, entrepreneur, and keynote speaker Erica Dhawan about her new book, Digital Body Language. In a time where we are all being asked to communicate digitally more than ever before, Erica offers a useful guide to making our way through this changing digital landscape. We talk about how we can all improve our digital communication, below.

You describe yourself as a “21st century collaboration expert.” What does that mean?

I’ve studied human innovation and collaboration for over 15 years. What I’ve learned is that the key to innovation and success is connection. Teams (or even families) can look good on paper but fail to connect in their everyday experiences. My work lives at that intersection of humanity.

Tell me about your path to this role. How does your identity inform your work?

As a shy, introverted Indian-American immigrant girl growing up in Pittsburgh, I struggled to find my place. I juggled two languages and two cultures, and, eventually, I learned the skills I needed to build connections across difference — what were the body language signals that made certain people popular and others more confident? I’ve been studying teamwork and collaboration ever since. In our world of digital connections, now we’re all immigrants learning how to use digital body language.

Additionally, as a working mom with 2 kids under 3 years old, I am passionate that we build the skills of both traditional and digital body language across our education systems, communities and broader society.

How would you describe your particular areas of research?

I write about the digital communication crisis and how to solve it with digital body language. I realized that the tools we’re using in our lives that are supposed to make it all easier and faster — everything from phone calls to texts to WebEx meetings — were actually…



Ximena Vengoechea

Writer, UX Researcher, Author of Rest Easy (9/26/23), Listen Like You Mean It ('21). Previously, user research @ TWTR, PINS, etc. ximenavengoechea.com/rest-easy