Communication is crucial for the success of any team, and we all agree that poor communication creates drama in the workplace. In contrast, good communication helps us avoid misunderstandings and chaos that come with it.
At the moment, modern workplaces face one big question: what type of communication they should use to stay in touch?
This article explores the aspects of synchronous communication, its benefits, and its application in organizations.
Definition of Synchronous Communication
Synchronous communication occurs between two or more people in real-time. It is scheduled or impromptu, but you exchange information with others immediately.
This immediacy makes synchronous communication important, especially when discussing time-sensitive or delicate issues and complex projects.
Additionally, synchronous communication makes people interact; it's great for one-on-one meetings, brainstorming, and socializing, whether in person or online.
In brick-and-mortar establishments, synchronous communication is common. You chat with colleagues casually or catch up with your team in morning meetings. It's the remote working environment that poses a challenge. Synchronous communication becomes difficult when teams conduct business in different time zones and around their schedule.
Types of Synchronous Communication
Synchronous communication refers to any form of communication that happens in real-time. This means all parties involved in the communication process are present simultaneously, and messages are exchanged instantly. Synchronous communication includes the following types:
- Face-to-Face Communication: This is the oldest and the most traditional way of synchronous communication. It refers to two or more individuals communicating in person through direct verbal or non-verbal cues.
- Phone Calls: Phone communication involves using smartphones or traditional phones to make voice calls. Participants talk to each other in real time, and phone communication is commonly used in both professional and personal settings.
- Live presentation: Live presentation combines video and audio technology to connect participants in different locations. It is conducted to educate participants about particular products or services.
- Instant Messaging: With the help of instant messaging platforms, users send text-based messages in real-time. Examples of instant messaging platforms include Slack, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. This type of digital software is seen as an example of asynchronous communication because the participants respond at different times.
- Live Chat: This way of communication is commonly used on websites and e-commerce platforms. It allows customers to communicate with customer support representatives in real time by sending a text-based message and getting a response quickly.
- Webinars: A webinar is a type of online meeting, learning platform, or presentation that allows participants to communicate with each other in real time. It involves audio, video, and chat features to facilitate communication among participants.
Advantages of Synchronous Communication
Synchronous communication offers several benefits for teams and organizations worth exploring:
- Real-time feedback: Participants receive immediate feedback from others, which clears misunderstandings and keeps all parties on the same page.
- Faster decision-making: Synchronous communication helps everyone involved to make a decision more quickly and discuss everything in real-time.
- Increased engagement: This type of communication boosts engagement among team members, leading to meaningful discussions and better outcomes.
- Affordable: People used to travel to communicate in real-time. However, synchronous communication is a cost-effective solution that eliminates the need for traveling.
- Personalization: Synchronous communication allows a more personalized approach, where participants are able to see and hear each other. This builds trust and better relationships among team members.
- Flexibility: You conduct synchronous communication from any location, which offers participants more convenience and flexibility.
When to Use Synchronous Communication
Synchronous communications are valuable in many different situations, but it is important to understand when it is most appropriate. Here are some common scenarios where synchronous communication is particularly effective:
- Communication during brainstorming: During brainstorming sessions, it's essential to apply synchronous communication because participants are able to share ideas in real-time.
- One-on-one meeting: One-on-one meeting is a typical example of synchronous communication.
- Importance of synchronous communication in team building: Team building activities and games include bonding time with other team members, and synchronous communication plays an important role in ensuring everything runs smoothly.
- Communicating in complex project discussions and crises: Synchronous communication enables quick and on-the-spot search for solutions during complex projects and emergencies, enhancing productivity. Real-time communication ensures everyone has the latest information and takes appropriate action quickly.
- Customer support: Customer support representatives use synchronous communication to provide instant answers.
- Team projects or group assignments: Synchronous communications is useful for collaborative projects or tasks. It allows team members to communicate in real-time, message each other, share ideas, and work together more effectively.
- Problem-solving: Synchronous communication is particularly useful when solving complex problems. It allows team members to discuss the problem in real-time, ask questions, and receive immediate feedback.
- Training and education of employees: Synchronous communication enables organizations to deliver real-time training and support, particularly for remote teams or individuals who need to learn new skills, practices, or processes.
- Job interviews and remote onboarding: Synchronous communications help companies conduct remote interviews while saving time and reducing travel costs. It is also useful for virtual onboarding and training.
Examples of Synchronous Communication
Synchronous communication is used on multiple occasions.
- Face-to-face conversations: Meetings and brainstorming sessions happen at the office or via video calls. Informal conversations when bumping into someone in the office kitchen or corridor also becomes fruitful exchanges of business ideas.
- Phone calls: Sometimes, there's no other solution than to pick up the phone and call someone. An urgent situation like app downtime or a serious PR crisis leave no choice but to make a phone call and talk directly to someone.
- Video conferencing: By using platforms like Skype, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams, people communicate with each other face-to-face and participate in synchronous communication even if they're distributed across different time zones.
- Instant messaging: Platforms like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger are convenient because they help us send messages to others in real-time.
Disadvantages of Synchronous Communication - Examples
Synchronous communication has a few drawbacks; let's see in what situations is more difficult than convenient.
- Slow internet connection: Synchronous communication relies on technology and requires access to a stable internet connection that not every employee have. Sometimes during a meeting, your team members may experience a lagging or slow internet connection, affecting your meeting.
- People with hearing or speech impairments: It is challenging to set up and hold an enterprise meeting, especially online, if some of your colleagues have certain speech or hearing impairments.
- Privacy concerns: This type of communication may not always offer privacy because, most of the time, the conversation is recorded or monitored without participants' consent or knowledge.
- Lengthy discussions: Sometimes, employees may have lengthy discussions and forget to focus on things that matter, especially when they find a difference in their opinions but don't solve it in the right place.