We can all feel like we are drowning in digital communications and are consumed by the 24/7 digital noise. The norm is to respond to everything the instant we receive it and to check all social media updates and sink with FOMO if we weren’t invited to a party or even a meeting!
The objective of technology is to make us more effective and productive and not hinder us.
It is time to stop manic multi-tasking and thinking that everything has to be now and instant – take a step back, breath, focus, and learn to how to manage your digital communications so you become empowered by technology and not enslaved by it.
Phone – the power of voice
By speaking on the phone we can develop a personal connection with a person, understand their tone of voice and talk in more depth, therefore, strengthening the connection.
There is less margin for error or misinterpretation, and of course, the advantage is also there are more opportunities for conversations on a personal level and for humour.
Another benefit is trust and authenticity can be built more quickly in comparison to an email or text.
When to use it:
• To resolve something urgently that is complex. (It is often easier to get results face to face over the phone as you can talk around the issues.)
When you are chasing someone
If a client or employee has been ignoring your emails and messages then pick up the phone and talk to them about it. It will be much quicker. There are times when you must deliver bad news or discuss something personal and empathy is required. This can only be achieved in a face to face meeting or on a phone call
You have a business issue to chat through and also it’s been a while since you spoke to the person so you want to catch up with them. Email remains very much the most used communications tool in business.
However, the issue is that you end up with a full inbox and people still copy you in on irrelevant emails.
We send roughly 281.1 billion emails a day, a figure that is estimated to increase to 333.2 billion by 2022, according to Statista.
Therefore, we would expect that emails often get ignored, deleted or end up in the junk box. Emails are not the most effective way to communicate and it is much easier to use other tools such as picking up the phone.
When to use it?
• Sitting at your desk or on move from smartphones or tablets
• To document conversations and activities
• To send files
Video and audio conference calls
These tools are great when you want to speak with a group of people in another location without having to travel. With video, you can read people’s body language and easily gage reactions to what you are saying. When to use it?
• For a team meeting to discuss a project or proposal
• If there is an issue you can have a collective discussion
• To screen share a document and go through it together
Conferencing and collaboration solutions contain instant messaging tools and you can see your colleagues presence, when they are available and when they aren’t. However, people expect an instant response and tend to ignore the ‘busy’ and ‘do not disturb signs.
When to use it?
• When you need an instant answer to a question
• You may need to talk to someone and ask them to call you when you are free.
Instant messages are more intrusive than emails and are harder to ignore. Social Media Companies may use Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter etc to communicate to customers or other stakeholders.
When to use it?
• To share photos or information
• To ask questions and generate a multitude of answers
• To answer customer complaints
• For customer reviews
Bringing it all together
The key is to know how and when to use the different communication tools available. Therefore using them at different times and when appropriate to improve efficiencies and productivity.
Knowing when to switch off is vital, so if you need to focus on a piece of work or need some downtime, and don’t want to be disturbed then you could set your ‘Do Not Disturb’ or turn it all off.
Be guided by the experts
A Solutions Provider in communication solutions will advise and guide you on what communications technology you need for your business and its objectives.
They will assist you with setting guidelines on how and when to use the tools, setting ‘etiquette’ rules and ‘duty of care’ policies on how to minimise interruptions utilising them to their potential.
Empower and set yourself free
Set yourself free from drowning in digital noise and instant gratification, and manage your portfolio of communication tools to empower you and not enslave you.
Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.