The Good and the Bad of Digital Communications at Work

 

There are so many communication tools we can choose from, but how can we know that we’ve picked the right one for our needs? We can pick up the desk phone and call a business partner or another member of our team. We can choose to send them an e-mail or an instant message instead. We may even want to use video conferencing to communicate with our colleagues and business partners.

Different communication tools have their own advantages and drawbacks. What works in a certain situation or for delivering a specific type of message may not work in other circumstances. It is up to us to assess all communication means available and to select the one that best suits our purpose.

How to Choose the Right Digital Communication Tool for Your Business

This article takes a closer look at the advantages and drawbacks of the various tools we use for all of our business communication needs. Feel free to use this advice to decide which tool is best for you.

One-to-One Desk or Mobile Phone Calls

The Good

The phone is great for discussing a topic at length or for talking through ideas. It has a rather personal nature and it makes it easy for the parties to express their ideas and to clarify points that may generate misunderstandings when communicated through other means. A phone call using business mobiles allows for a friendly chat before the actual business talk. This can be refreshing in a world that values speed and efficiency beyond limits.

The Bad

The phone may not work well for quick business resolutions. If the person isn’t available, you’ll have to leave a voicemail message and wait to receive an answer. Also, the phone doesn’t provide you with any proof of communication, unless you record the call.

E-mail Messages

The Good

E-mail is ideal to document your activities and to track communications on various topics. You can use it to send files to a group of people. You can manage it from your desktop or mobile device. E-mail is probably the most used form of business communication.

The Bad

More often than not people tend to overuse this communication tool. The result is that your inbox gets clogged with irrelevant messages. E-mail is not real time communication, even though some may expect an immediate reply from you. A cluttered inbox is cumbersome to manage and it may lead to losing track of important and urgent matters. While spam filters are great, they sometimes catch valid messages and send them to the Junk folder, so you need to check that out quite frequently, as well.

Instant Messengers

The Good

Instant messaging allows you to see whether your colleagues are currently available or not. This helps you in situations that call for an immediate response. You can tell when the other party is busy and when he or she is available to help you. This works best for quick questions that require fast answers.

The Bad

Some people ignore your busy notices and send their messages anyway. This can disturb you from work or interfere with your meetings. The best workaround is to always use the do not disturb options while busy.

Text Messages

The Good

Texting works great for quick messages that require immediate answers. Even when you’re on the move you can’t resist the temptation to check out your phone when you hear the incoming message beep.

The Bad

Some people forget to reply, if they can’t do it on the spot.

Video Conferencing

The Good

You can speak to groups of people without having to travel to meet them. You see their faces, so you can read their mind and adjust your speech accordingly.

The Bad

Technically challenged people may find it difficult to figure out how to use video conferencing systems. You may need to rely on your younger co-workers for help.

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