Synchronous communication is a type of communication where two or more parties are connected in real-time, typically in face to face meetings, via video conferencing or VoIP. This type of communication is often used in business meetings or conferences, as it allows all participants to see and hear each other in real-time. This can be beneficial for brainstorming sessions or other discussions where a back-and-forth exchange is desired. Additionally, synchronous communication can help to build rapport and relationships between remote team members.
However, both parties must be present physically and mentally. This type of communication requires immediate answers to questions or a follow-up where actions are taken and loose ends tied. But the instant back and forth in a live meeting is not always necessary or optimal.
Asynchronous Communication to the rescue
Asynchronous communication is being adopted by both individuals and companies to help them take control of their work, be more productive, and not get sucked into meetings. Asynchronous communication can be email, voice notes, or text messages. It's any communication that isn't in real-time. It's like going back to the past, but it's necessary.
By declining immediate synchronous communication requests, people have fewer distractions and longer chunks of uninterrupted time for creating and producing. As life was before the advent of notifications, we weren't expected to be responsive. Many of the most successful entrepreneurs, artists, and inventors kept themselves locked up for long periods of times, searching for solitude and space to think uninterrupted.
The Benefits of Asynchronous Communication
Asynchronous is a better choice for communication for global companies, as it doesn't require any alignment of schedules, or intrusive requests to "jump onto a call." This allows professionals to work at their own pace, according to their working patterns, and helps to manage time zone differences.
By making asynchronous communication the norm, your work can be done on your terms. It is easy to allow uninterrupted flow by knowing that not all messages will need immediate responses, and that colleagues won't expect one. Low level distractions can cause deep work to be interrupted. However, professionals should communicate only asynchronously unless absolutely required. Professionals have the option of requesting responses at their discretion.
Especially for companies with a global workforce, choosing async over sync means no aligning of schedules or intrusive, attention-grabbing requests to “jump on a call.” Professionals can work at their own pace and according to their personal working patterns, whilst also better managing time zone discrepancies.
Making asynchronous communication the norm means work is always on your terms. Knowing that no messages will require an immediate response, and colleagues won’t expect one, clears the way for uninterrupted periods of flow. We know that low level distractions are costing deep work, but communicating only asynchronously means responses can be batched.
Projects can move forward without waiting for someone to call. Conversations can happen and problems can be solved without Zoom calls. For everyday matters, you don't need to find the time or a quiet space and prepare for the conversation.
You cannot cancel a meeting if you haven't booked it or made a reservation for a time slot in your diary. There is no need to cancel meetings or make arrangements for childcare. Professionals who have already planned their day around last-minute cancellations can find it frustrating.
If you don’t book meetings or have time slots reserved, your schedule cannot be turned upside down should someone cancel. If an issue crops up, like sickness or childcare, nothing needs to be cancelled: the response simply arrives later. Last-minute cancellations are a huge annoyance for professionals who might have planned their day around that one booking.
Always on = Always wasting time?
Many modern workplaces assume that all time slots during a day must be allocated. For example, a tool like Calendly links allow you to easily book into someone's calendar. It's easy to ask a question on your mobile phone that you could have done with a Google search. Put bluntly: this is stealing time and wasting attention that could have been used to create, produce, and grow a company because somebody was just lazy.
Meetings, slack, and an "always-on" culture are now so common that they're not even questioned. It is rude for a team member to refuse a meeting or ask for an email summary. Software product buyers expect an in-person demonstration and don't feel comfortable watching a YouTube video. We give up our time because we want so much time from other people too. This doesn't have be the case.
Asynch operation can be a great way to get things done while keeping the team productive. While synchronous communication is an option, and can have its benefits, it will likely cost more than it provides.
How to make Asynchronous Communication your new norm
Asynchronous communication should be your new norm. This means being less available and refusing to book meetings or bookings unless absolutely necessary. Do not answer the phone when it rings. Also, don't expect your coworkers to respond immediately. You should be very careful with your time and ask questions before you allow someone to book a slot. Ask about the purpose of the meeting and the time it will end. Also, inquire about the agenda. Follow up if necessary. It might be possible to do it via email. You might find it daunting to leave blank space on your calendar. Instead, make sure you block out each day with the title "real work".
It is not enough to shift from synchronous to non-synchronous communication. It also requires trust. Individuals must be able to manage their time well and not procrastinate. With self-discipline, self-awareness, autonomy, mastery and purpose, team members will thrive and organizations will flourish.
There are many benefits of asynchronous communication that make it so advantageous for businesses. First, asynchronous communication allows for more flexible scheduling. This is because each party can communicate at their convenience, without having to coordinate a time that works for everyone. This can be a huge time-saver, especially for businesses with employees in different time zones.
Another benefit of asynchronous communication is that it allows for more thoughtful and concise communication. Because there is no pressure to respond immediately, each party can take the time to craft a well-thought-out response. This can lead to better overall communication and fewer misunderstandings.
Finally, asynchronous communication can help to reduce distractions and increase focus. When communication is synchronous, it can be easy to get side-tracked by other conversations or tasks. However, when communication is asynchronous, each party can focus on the task at hand without worrying about other distractions. This can lead to improved productivity and better results.
Overall, the benefits of asynchronous communication are evident. This type of communication can save businesses time, improve communication quality, and increase productivity. If your business is not already using asynchronous communication, it may be time to consider making the switch.
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