Remember the last email you sent? Did it have punctuation marks and emojis? Did you reply quickly or not? Let’s talk about your recent Zoom call next. Did you check your email or phone while in the meeting? Did you have to pause to check if the speaker has finished, or did you speak over someone else because of poor internet connection?

Leadership expert Erica Dhawan refers to them as “digital body language.” These are cues that signal the mood and meaning of words we say in digital communication. A survey from 2,000 employees showed that 70% of the respondents pointed to poor digital communication as their main issue from working remotely. Workers are unconsciously wasting about four working hours in a week; that’s around 10% a day. So how do we patch these issues up? Emojis and punctuations. Dhawan recommends, for example, adding a fist bump emoji to show mutual agreement or replacing “Regards.” with “Thanks!” when signing off to show more enthusiasm. When in video calls, participants should raise their hands before speaking. If there are interruptions like an incoming call, properly excusing yourself would show that you respect the people in the meeting.

It’s difficult to truly express our thoughts and intentions through digital communication. But it’s a must to perfect digital body language to avoid confusion and misunderstandings when communicating behind our screen’s devices.