First of all, It’s pretty amazing that we have so many means of communications today to choose from. Also, thanks to cloud communications, at least 2 of these might also be bundled into the same platform in many cases. But with several options presented in day-to-day situations at work, you’ve probably also wondered; should I call my colleague? Should I just email? Or is it more productive with a meeting? Thus, with many options also comes the need for careful consideration of the most appropriate option. Choosing situationally is actually of paramount importance to productivity and therefore we are going to explain when to choose what means of communication.
E-mail is without a doubt the most common option to choose, and it has the renowned OG status of communication forms in most companies. Not only is it swift, but it also gives off a professional feel. If you’re going to send out a lot of information to a group of people, it’s a great option as it’s easy to keep the information clear and concise, as well as freed of interrupting chats with confirming colleagues. On the other hand, avoid it if you want to chit-chat or build relationships as it doesn’t leave a lot of room for personality.
Similar to e-mail, chat is also a very swift option. But unlike email, this is great medium to chit chat as it leaves more room for personality and day-to-day lingo. It’s also arguably the best way to reach colleagues fast for answers to questions. However, make sure the question is specific, or you might get entrenched in the rabbit hole of never finding your original message or sent file.
Phone calls also has OG status and besides face-to-face communication, this is the best way to discuss complex issues. The human element is not something we should be taken for granted and it’s essential in building trust and relationships with your colleagues. The issue with phone calls primarily comes down to preference. Some highly prefer a phone call over chat, while others believe the opposite. This is especially prevalent generation to generation, whereas younger generations that grew up with chatting over calls, and vice versa.
Video communication is a great way to build relationships with your colleagues. It’s also very helpful in avoiding miscommunication as your as facial expressions are visible. The only time you should really avoid video meeting is if it’s possible to have a face-to-face meeting. Therefore, it’s preferably used best with colleagues that work abroad or on the road. Worth mentioning is also that this might not be a favourite option for shy colleagues. Most warm up a little after a few meetings, but you have to ultimately decide on individual basis and in dialogue with your colleagues.