Technology, VR, and Practicing our Communication Skills

This week we’re going high-tech with VR and communication skills.

Two weeks ago we learned why practice does NOT make perfect and how to practice with intention from my friend Dr. Nadine Kelly.

Practice the drums with Dr. Nadine Kelly

Nadine personally practices yoga, podcasting, and the drums, amongst other things!

This week I’m excited to introduce you to Robson Beaudry, whom a met at an online networking event. In one of the event breakout groups, Robson introduced himself and said he recently graduated from Harvard with a master’s degree in learning technology.  When COVID happened, he pivoted to create Cerdio, to equip medical laboratories with digital technology to deal with the pandemic.  He just sold Cerdio (wow!) and now Robson’s back to his passion: developing V.R. technology to help people learn and improve their interpersonal skills.

Wait – WHAT?!?
Andrea Wojnicki

Yes: V.R. technology that helps people learn and improve their interpersonal skills.”

I connected with Robson immediately on LinkedIn and we scheduled a phone meeting soon after. And here we are! 

Read on to learn:

  • how VR can help us learn communication skills
  • insights identified by participants in Robson’s VR sessions 
  • the difference between “V.R.” and “A.R.,” and what a “DoF” is!
  • why Robson chose to focus on “interpersonal skills”

Let’s do this!



Whether you’re a tech/AI/VR expert or not (and I’m definitely not), I promise you’ll learn a lot from this conversation and you’ll leave feeling inspired!

Robson Beaudry tech quote

Here’s an example of how Robson’s VR learning technology works:

  • Two participants who are unknown to each other agree to participate.  All they know is that they will collaborate to solve a puzzle.
  • One participant wears a headset and enters a virtual world created by Robson.  In that virtual world, there’s a table with a piece of paper.  The paper has incomplete information to help solve the puzzle.
  • The second participant is in a separate (real-world) room and is handed a sheet of paper with complementary information and no further instructions.
  • The participants communicate verbally to solve the puzzle. Then they meet to debrief.
VR virtual reality
image: Unsplash @ minhphamdesign

3 INSIGHTS from Robson’s work:


  • A common epiphany articulated by participants in the debrief is that they could have solved the puzzle more quickly had they asked questions and listened more.
  • Our default is to talk, to share, to project.  More effective communication and collaboration happens when we ask questions and listen. (Yes! Listening is a superpower!)


  • While diversity can improve team performance, communication and collaboration can seem more challenging when two parties are different.
  • Robson talked about how two 50-year-old scientists can work together efficiently. But when you mix ages and cultures, “the difficulty ramps up.”  (That’s when listening and asking questions becomes even more important!)



  • Learning scientists talk about reflection or meta-learning.
  • This reflection is where significant insights and improvements can happen. Debriefing and internalizing learnings is an important step in practicing and learning.
Robson Beaudry

Thank you, Robson! 



Enjoy the podcast!


V.R., A.R., & DoF

Unless you work in tech or A.I., the vocabulary can be overwhelming.  Before you read any further, think video games. (This helped me a lot!)

andrea playing a video game

Augmented reality (A.R.)

  • AR is about projecting digital models into a real-world context. (Again, think video games!)

Virtual Reality (V.R.)

  • VR is a complete immersion within a digital environment.  
  • While the internet offers “information on demand,” VR enables experience on demand, as inconsistency, scalability and the opportunity to practice new skills.

Degrees of Freedom (DoF)

  • With 3 DoFs, the environment tracks with you as you move your head around the digital environment.
  • 6 DoFs is the next level of technology, where you can move around and pick things up.  It’s true immersion.

VR virtual reality gamingimage: Unsplash @ xrexpo

Got it?


As you might imagine, it was a great privilege for me to talk with someone who shares my passion for communication and interpersonal skills, but whose expertise is so different from mine!

Robson Beaudry quote
Music to my ears!

I hope you enjoy the podcast. Please let me know what you think!

talk about talk lips Click HERE to listen directly on the Talk About Talk website


Click HERE to listen on your favourite podcast player


Click HERE to read the printable shownotes

forward this email to anyone who might appreciate insights on technology and practicing their communication skillsThank you!  

Have a great week.

Talk soon,

Dr. Andrea Wojnicki
Chief Talker & Communication Coach

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