E-Mail Alternatives: Conferencing
E-Mail Alternatives: Conferencing
Tim Burress (E-mail Etiquette and Organization Specialist) gives expert video advice on: When is a 'phone conference' the best form of business communication?; When is a 'web conference' the best form of business communication? and more...
When is a 'phone conference' the best form of business communication?
Phone conferences can be the best form of communication depending on the circumstance. Teleconferences are widely used in corporations today as again, that's where you really want to have that synchronous environment which you get when everyone is on the phone, at the same time, sharing information. It's in a synchronous environment compared to an a-synchronous one, so maybe topics where you really want to hear from everyone is the best use of phone conferences. Also, where you want to have that dialog on maybe a sensitive issue, or a really important marketing plan, phone conferences could be great too. Whenever you need to have that real lifetime conversation versus an a-synchronous environment phone conferences are the best form of business communication. Once you move something to e-mail, it generally tends to take longer to complete the communication pathway because people hop on the email at different times.
When is using a 'chat room' the best form of business communication?
Chat rooms are not predominantly used in a business setting as at most business settings, when they want to have a bunch of people coming together to talk about something, they are going to use a teleconference, a web conference or a face to face meeting. Chat conferences therefore can be used not for critical business information, but rather where they are talking about some business initiative that isn't on the front burner but maybe on the back burner.
When is a 'web conference' the best form of business communication?
Web conferencing is a great form of business communication because you are really approaching someone in two ways. You're approaching them visually within the business environment because they are going to hop onto a web conference and see an image of their computer screen that someone is casting out. And you're going to hear them as well with audio. So you're unlike a teleconference where you're just listening in your business communication. Indeed in a web conference you're usually looking at some type of image on the screen in your business communication, so that can be helpful in conveying a lot of information to actually have the graphic behind it to reinforce your points.
When is a 'video conference' the best form of business communication?
Video conferencing is another technology that a lot of companies have, but very few use in their business communications. This is largely because they just don't know how to use it and they're uncomfortable with the technology. It's like our VCR with the time, most of ours are blinking midnight just because we don't know how to set the time. It is the same thing with video conferencing as a form of business communication in Corporate America today.
When is e-mail the best form of business communication?
The business conversations you should definitely use e-mail for, and perhaps not use face-to-face or other forms of communications, are the things where people aren't located close to you. If they're a distance away it's tough to have a face-to-face business conversation because someone's got to travel. Or if they're time zones away, it's even difficult to get on a teleconference at the same time, for example when you're in the United States and someone's in Sydney, Australia. So, thinking about distance, location, and then also thinking about if it's a complicated process that you're trying to communicate, and you put it into a format that's clear and concise in a business e-mail, you can write it, and then re-read it a few times yourself before sending it, to make sure it's clear and concise. That can help in the business communication path.