What is Asynchronous Communication?
by Ashley Villegas
What is Asynchronous Communication? 3 Key Points to Remember
What is asynchronous communication? It may sound like a “buzzword, or a totally new concept, but if you’ve been in the remote work world (or even a remote student) for some time, you’ve probably come across articles written by leaders referring to asynchronous communication as their preferred method of communication. Asynchronous communication is not new and you may already be using it daily to conduct most of your interactions with coworkers, clients and stakeholders. Here are three key points to keep in mind as you implement asynchronous communication more effectively throughout your day.
What is asynchronous communication?
Using asynchronous communication requires more effort and research than in-person communication. It forces you to think about what you are going to communicate before you communicate it. Live meetings, or synchronous conversations, tend to have little deep work behind them and facilitate more reactionary responses. Some remote workers can think on their feet during synchronous, or live meetings, but asynchronous communication fosters a deeper thought process and ultimately can help lead to a more productive work environment.
You exchange notes, ideas, opinions, complaints, and so much more throughout the course of a day. With asynchronous communication, be sure to: Plan ahead, or at least have a clear idea of what the person you want to have contact with has going on in their day and how you’ll be able to seamlessly communicate. Prepare for the conversation – or conversations – ahead of time. Send your message (ideas, information, ideas, opinions) when you expect your recipient will be ready to accept them when using tools like Slack. With asynchronous video tools like Weet, your recipient can view your video message at the time that works best in their day.
When should you use asynchronous communication?
You can use asynchronous communication in all interactions and scenarios. There’s no reason that you can’t use it for emails (SMS, chat apps) or voicemails and voice notes. Of course, you’ll want to keep asynchronous communication messages short and simple; and it’s best not to use it on the internet, but hey, most people are on Facebook and Instagram at work, too. If you’re someone who needs to communicate with many different people throughout the day and not only within the organization, then you’ll want to make sure you’re using asynchronous communication respectfully. These tools can easily get us to be in a “constantly available” frame of mind or expect immediate responses. Using your asynchronous communication tools requires you don’t expect an immediate response but you still align with the recipient on a topic.
How to implement it more effectively
Find a fast, easy, low-tech way to communicate with people. Don’t fumble with software downloads or expensive tools. Using video messaging apps like Weet or chat platforms are one way to achieve this, but email is still the main method for many. However, email can be very frustrating to answer or send because it requires a lot of time to read, respond, and then process the message and the replies into a cohesive piece of information. Plus, when you put a lot of time and effort into a single message, it’s frustrating to have it sit there in your inbox, never to be read. With chat, there’s always the risk of messages getting “buried” (meaning you won’t see them or can’t respond), because of all the messages in your inbox. We believe video adds the human touch to communication that text message can miss so we combine it with text, emojis and features of chat apps for a rich experience.
Keeping these three points in mind, you can be aware of how much you can enhance your workday with asynchronous communication. Stop trying to “force” that messaging from your smartphone to your colleague. And stop dreading the awkward silence of a calendar invite that can’t be responded to in a timely manner. Embrace asynchronous communication with the appropriate tools, training and knowledge you’re already familiar with. Not to mention, embracing asynchronous communication will free up your day-to-day to focus more time on the more complex and intricate activities that require more immediate attention. And that’s a win for everyone!