What’s the most important aspect of running a successful business? Good communication! So which method is better for communication: a phone call or an email?
The question may seem simple, don’t be fooled. This question represents the difference between synchronous and asynchronous communication. These are both necessary aspects of communication, and they have different purposes.
If you’re looking to improve your communication skills, keep reading. This article will explain different types of communication, and when to use them.
What is Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Communication?
Synchronous communication happens in real-time. Think about a face-to-face conversation. That is synchronous communication. Asynchronous communication happens back and forth, like email.
Many communication apps, like Spike, can accommodate both synchronous and asynchronous communications.
Examples of synchronous communication can include:
- Phone calls
- Video meetings
- Real-time video lectures
Asynchronous communication can look like:
- Snail mail
- Text messaging
- Direct messaging
- Video messaging
So now you have an idea of what synchronous and asynchronous communications are. When is the best time to use them? Let’s take a look.
Synchronous Communication: Pros and Cons
It is best to apply synchronous communication when you have specific needs. The best time to employ synchronous communication is when your business requires:
- In-Depth Communication: Sometimes you need to get all the heads in the room to brainstorm ideas and creatively strategize solutions. Getting people together to bounce ideas off each other can produce more creative results than individuals writing responses.
- Urgent Solutions: If you need a solution now, don’t waste time with asynchronous communication. Getting people together in real-time to address an urgent issue can have an issue handled quickly. If you need something done fast, use synchronous communication.
However, synchronous communication has some drawbacks:
- Hard to Achieve for Remote Teams: Time zones can be tough! If you’ve got a global team, demanding everyone join in for a synchronous Zoom meeting can have some people up at 3 am. You will not get the best solutions from people who should be sleeping at that time. If you continuously ask for employees to attend meetings at times that are not appropriate for them, they may become burnt out and quit.
- Focus Can Be Affected: Instant messages can impede employee progress. Let’s say your employee is deeply focused on working on a project. They probably won’t want to take away from that to communicate with you.
Most managers find synchronous communication easier. It can also come across as micromanaging. You want to trust that you’ve hired a good team, and you don’t want to distract them from their work. If you have a non-urgent message for an employee who is currently working on a project, an email might be better than a phone call.
If you have a complex problem that requires different departments to communicate, synchronous communication is best. If you are aware that an employee is not currently busy, that’s also a good time to use synchronous communication.
Asynchronous Communication: Pros and Cons
Asynchronous communication also has advantages and drawbacks. Let’s take a look at some advantages:
- Allows Greater Flexibility: Less pressure to answer immediately gives your workers more flexibility. Sometimes an answer needs a bit more research before someone can answer you. Sometimes employees are working on more important projects.
Asynchronous communication gives people more time to come up with thoughtful answers. It also gives them the flexibility to organize their own workflow. Employees tend to be happier and more engaged when given autonomy over their time.
- Great For Global Teams: As mentioned before, synchronous communication can be impeded by differing time zones. If you want to manage a global team long-term, you’ll need to invest in some good asynchronous communication strategies.
However, there are also some drawbacks to asynchronous communication. Those can be:
- No Sense of Urgency: Managers tend to prefer synchronous communications because they like instant answers. And let’s be real: it can be very aggravating not knowing when someone will get back to you. When it’s your job to keep everyone on the same page, immediate answers help you do your job better.
- Requires Greater Communicative Skill: In asynchronous communication, it’s easy for details to get lost. Think about it: in a meeting, if you’re not clear on something, you can just ask a question. In emails, it can take days for questions to get cleared up. With asynchronous communication, you need to be very thorough.
Pro Tips For Synchronous and Asynchronous Communication
Know When to Use the Right Form of Communication
The most important thing is to know when to use synchronous and asynchronous communication. Use synchronous communication when:
- There is an urgent issue
- The conversation will be short
- You have a clear objective
- You need to brainstorm creative ideas
The best time to use asynchronous communication is when:
- The issue is non-urgent
- You work with people in different time zones or work shifts
- You need to address several people who cannot be in the same room
Use the Right Communication Tools
A good communication tool like Spike can save you a lot of time. Back and forth emails can be streamlined into a chat, and it can integrate calendars and support video calls. If you need to use both synchronous and asynchronous communication, the right tools can be a real lifesaver!
A successful business needs good communication to run properly. Knowing when to use synchronous and asynchronous communication can streamline your business.