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The more technology advances, the more decisions we need to make when it comes to choosing the best way to communicate with employees or colleagues in the workplace. We no longer simply have in-person conversations to choose from.
We have everything from phone calls to emails to instant messaging to video calls. Read this quick guide for determining the best way to exchange information and directives with your coworkers.
When to Use Phone Calls
Phone calls are best for getting quick responses to urgent questions. Emails, on the other hand, tend to take a bit longer to receive a response.
Phone calls are also a great way to explain a process or piece of information to a coworker step by step. If you need to explain how to use your corporate website, for example, it might be best to jump on the phone or a video call, so that you can lead your colleague through the process.
When to Text Your Coworkers
Text messaging is available on almost all mobile phones. If you have your colleagues’ mobile phone numbers, text messaging or Short Message Service (SMS) may be the best way to send and receive small tidbits of information, especially when you are on the go and unable to receive emails or phone calls.
If you need to send time-sensitive critical information but can’t make a phone call, consider sending a text to get the information to your coworker as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, SMS is not the best way to communicate long pieces of information to multiple people, but if you just need to send small bits of information to one of your colleagues quickly, SMS is the way to go.
When to Email Your Colleagues
However, if you are emailing one or two people back and forth, a phone or conference call is probably more efficient. If you are on a long email thread between multiple people, a face-to-face meeting should be called instead to hash out the issue.
When to Use Video Conferencing
Keep in mind, however, that video calls should not be overused. There are certain times when it is better to just send an email or SMS or even meet in person. Video calls are best if you need to have a meeting with long distance employees.
When to Instant Message
While instant messaging used to be considered a distraction, many offices now offer their own instant messaging service for employees to use to communicate important information quickly and efficiently. Instant messaging is similar to communicating over the phone or face to face, in that it’s instant and efficient.
This type of messaging is also great for sending information, like Internet links, that can’t be sent over the phone, but it’s much quicker than email. One drawback is that instant messaging can lead employees to conduct side conversation that are tangential to the project at hand and ultimately distracting.
When to Meet in Person
Speaking in person is a great way to communicate with colleagues, but most of the time, it simply isn’t the most efficient use of time. Speaking in person tends to work best when you need to communicate a large amount of information on the same subject to a large group of employees. In this case, hold an in-person meeting to hash out a topic. This mode of communication is not possible for long distance employees, in which case, you should consider video conferencing remote employees or colleagues into the meeting.
So there you have it! Now you know when to meet your colleagues in person and when to simply shoot them an email or an SMS.
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.