Digital Body Language is not a new term but it is new to me. I recently heard Valeria Maltoni use it and after digging a bit more, found that it was originally a term created by Steve Woods, founder of Eloqua that referred to the anticipation of customer needs in the demand generation and lead development context which is not exactly what came to mind for me when I heard it. However, I love the term and the idea behind it - that there are ways to infer a person's intent through how they behave online.
When I initially mentioned the term on Twitter I got a lot of 'huh?' type of responses back but after years of watching people interact online it is clear to me that you can infer quite a bit about people's unwritten intent. How?
- When a person's cadence changes from their normal cadence when they interact with you - whether slower or faster
- When a person ignores a directed update on their Wall or in their Twitter stream
- When a person does not follow another back or friend them
- How and when someone inserts themselves into a public conversation
- How a person proactively requests connections and on which platforms.
- What and who a person RTs or shares
- How reactive and emotional individuals are (are they quick to judge or slower to respond to good/bad news?)
Relationships are in large part about the exchange of energy between two people. Relationships grow when that energy and enthusiasm is reciprocated. If it is not, one person is forcing the relationship forward despite the other person's lack of enthusiasm. Companies do that all the time. Lots of people do that all the time too. If you listen and watch carefully to both what is and what is not said, you can optimize your efforts on the people who are genuinely interested and engaged. It is both more cost effective and more fulfilling in the long run.
What signals do you watch for to determine others' intent online?