Modern Collaboration would be an epic fail without asynchronous communication.
From what I’ve seen, if you can effectively manage communication, you automatically become better at managing your team and the tasks. Thus, communication, as we have witnessed through the years, is quintessential to the beginnings of a productive and efficient team.
We might lose focus from it in our daily work schedules, but there are factors that separate the ways in which we communicate with our teams. Irrespective of what communication tool the team uses, these different communication manners can be divided into two; synchronous and asynchronous.
In this article, you will get to know all about what this kind of communication stands for, where you might find it happening in the workplace, and how it can benefit YOU in particular.
Table of Contents
- What Is Asynchronous Communication?
- What is Synchronous Communication?
- Examples Of Asynchronous Communication
- 6 Advantages Of Asynchronous Communication
- Why Is Asynchronous Communication Not Working For You?
- 7 Most Popular Ways To Put This Communication To Use:
- ProofHub Is The Way To Do Asynchronous Communication Right
- The Takeaway
What Is Asynchronous Communication?
Asynchronous communication is the type of communication where people sending out information are going to receive a response at a later time than right now.
We communicate in an asynchronous way almost every day. Yes, we do. We actually use it in various forms as well. Asynchronous communication can be seen taking place everywhere, ranging from a simple file transfer to sending out a pre-recorded video message.
When the real-time communication with your team, through meetings, feedback discussions, or brainstorming sessions has been loud and clear, you can carry out the tasks just as they are discussed. And, after a while, you might reach out to the people from your team with doubts or requests for reviews, and yet, not expect them to revert back right away.
What is Synchronous Communication?
The real-time communication, either virtual or offline, in the form of meetings, feedback discussions, or brainstorming sessions, in which, preferably, actionable tasks are planned and categorized is synchronous communication.
Synchronous communication may be a face-to-face type of conversation, it might be a message or a full-blown brainstorming session. The difference between the two is that synchronous communication happens in real-time.
You sort out information through synchronous communication so as to be on the same page with your team. When intelligence is distributed clearly, you can do however many check backs with your team as you want. These check backs, depending on the urgency of the task, will determine if the messages need to be reverted right away or can be responded to at a later time.
Examples Of Asynchronous Communication
The concept of asynchronous communication is easy to understand if you consider this scenario:
Alexis and David are a part of a team of about 10 people. They have a 15-minute round-up session within the team every single day, first thing in the morning. In these 15 minutes, they discuss progress, recent developments, and the ‘agenda for today’. This whole 15-minute meeting constitutes synchronous communication.
On most days when the team is working from the comfort of their office, this meeting takes place in the conference room, however, on the days when the team is working remotely, this meeting takes place on Zoom.
Example 1: After the meeting, one of the members of this team will voluntarily write up ‘meeting minutes’ and circulate this information through email. This is one example of asynchronous communication.
Example 2: Alexis is busy with her tasks A, B, and C, while David needs some clarity in task D. Thus, David reaches out to Alexis through instant messaging (on the project management tool that always keeps them connected) about this query, but since David knows Alexis might be engrossed in some other task, he will make it a point to let his query be known to Alexis without taking away her time, energy, or attention away from the tasks she has on hand.
So David made his issues known at 10 am through a particular communication channel while Alexis, who had completed her 3 tasks till 5 pm was able to address his queries then.
Example 3: Similarly, you might witness asynchronous communication in emails. You get a proposal to enter an opportunity, but you’re obligated to provide your yes/no right there and then. You may revert back to them at your comfort.
We use this method of team communication almost constantly, and still, fail to see its value. So let’s go over:
6 Advantages Of Asynchronous Communication
The communications taking place in the professional world are tipping heavily on asynchronous communication scales. This is because it works well for virtual teams, office-bound teams, and hybrid teams alike and here’s why:
#1 Gateway To Deep Work
Deep work, as you might know, is the ability to go deep into your tasks, which is possible when you work with full focus and little to no distractions. It is the work done when you put in efforts for productivity and achieve a certain appreciable level of efficiency.
Distractions are majorly caused by unexpected calls, and instant messages, which mainly fall into the category of synchronous communication. Since these means of communication can potentially disrupt the way you work, asynchronous communication is the go-to way to conduct deep work.
Thus, to summarize, asynchronous communication can secure you a level of deep work as it does not interfere or disrupt your day-to-day activities. Since nothing is asked of you in urgency, you get to give your undivided attention to the task at hand.
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#2 Leads To Greater Productivity
Since there are limited distractions with this communication, people set aside time to correspond to messages and address issues, this makes their work-time all the more productive and fruitful.
Another cause for this heightened productivity is that asynchronous communication helps teams make their planning process more efficient. Since people are not dependent on instant answers and quick feedback, plans can be laid down in an easier, more effective manner.
All of this leads to a highly motivated and productive work environment which can help you achieve a lot more with a lot less. Another noticeable benefit of this type of communication for the team is that it helps you document ideas, important information, and much more just the way in which it happens.
#3 Perks Of Recorded Communication
Coming back to the point about documenting conversations, yes, asynchronous communication does help you keep a record of shared ideas, shared documents. It can virtually help you create a detailed wiki for the whole team/organization in the future.
This sort of communication style can also help you maintain a standardized level of transparency. It will allow you space where you can readily make everyone aware of a certain change and make sure that everyone is timely informed. For example, sending out a mass email to the whole company about an important policy change. This helps keep everyone informed, and on the same page at the very same time.
Needless to say, the methods of asynchronous communication make for an incredible contender for all the ways in which a team can keep records. Whether one is using a chatting tool, or collaboration software, your shared information is more than likely to be archived and, consequently, stay secure in the records.
#4 More Time, Less Stress
This, arguably, is the biggest advantage of asynchronous communication. I feel as though we can all relate to this scenario — we already have deadlines for tasks, but when we are tied to the responsibility of replying to messages, it can all feel like an uninvited burden. Eventually, it just becomes a major cause of workplace stress and angst.
We don’t want that, do we?
This is where asynchronous communication comes to your aid. This sort of communication can relieve the stress on teammates that are caused by instant demand for answers. Along with helping you work with a clear head, it also helps ensure communication that can be done completely stress-free. Hence, this kind of communication is sure to be effective and, thus, in turn, the outcomes are sure to be fruitful.
To summarize, this point states that:
- Asynchronous communication forms a gateway to effective collaboration and better decision-making that gives great results.
- It relieves the stress of catering to distractions that come in the form of unexpected questions and untimely messages.
#5 Remote Work Made Easy
Since my team won’t be expecting me to reply to their messages, audio messages, emails, or pre-recorded video messages right this second, asynchronous communication is going to suit me even when I’m not working in the same timezone as them.
Needless to say, if the responses aren’t expected or demanded immediately, remote work becomes far more feasible. It is convenient for virtually all kinds of teams out there, like hybrid teams, teams that work in different shifts, and teams that work across the borders.
Asynchronous communication is a savior for teams that are not working in the same locality at the same time. Not only this, but this kind of communication actively helps teams collaborate, gather ideas, and work together with effect in any kind of geographical scenario.
To summarize, asynchronous communication, inevitably, makes remote team management a hell of a lot easier.
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#6 Expect Insightful Responses
With asynchronous communication, I am not obligated to provide the team with an articulate answer right this second. Thus, I will have the time and resources I need, to mull it over and get back to them with a better understanding and an insightful answer in my own time.
If asynchronous communication is compared to in-person discussions, you will find that this communication gives you an opportunity to get a deeper understanding of the discussion you are expected to participate in.
To summarize, the art of asynchronous communication helps pave the way to efficient team management, where all the distractions, all the misguided topics of discussions, all the sources of non-effective communication are simply tuned out.
Why Is Asynchronous Communication Not Working For You?
Since asynchronous communication is advantageous in so many ways, why does it still fail to suit us or benefit us at times? I have five ideas as to why:
#1 Incoherent Expression
If you were to reach out to me expecting me to follow up with a coherent message in response, I would expect for your initial message to be just as coherent. In fact, if I am to provide you with an intelligible answer, I would expect your message to be as detailed as it possibly can be.
Therefore, we must make it a point to consider this form of communication as one that requires in-depth intel and interpretation from both sides. And, since asynchronous communication leaves a trail, there is all the more reason to keep the records to be accurate, candid, coherent, and to the point.
#2 Failing To Fix A Response Time
As you might have learned from the lesson of remote team communication management, it is necessary to set a cap on response time. This must be done for 2 very telling reasons. The first being that the sender will never have the faintest idea of when the recipient is going to respond. And the second being that the recipient will try to come through with a response as soon as possible to satisfy the needs of the sender.
I don’t know about you, but this scenario seems like a recipe for disaster to me. Therefore, you must define a response time so that the follow up can be intelligible and can be welcomed within a reasonable timeframe.
#3 Not Providing Enough Resources
Now that the sender feels that they are likely to get an answer in a reasonable timeframe, and they are going to clarify their issues in detail, they are likely to expect a very straightforward yet comprehensive response.
But this isn’t always the case. If the recipient fails to respond with a detailed account as a response to their message, it is going to make your attempted asynchronous communication a potential failure.
The key is to guide your team through this new era of communication with an actual guide that can tell them what to do and how to respond with clarity making use of the required links, files, documents, passcodes, and folders (or anything more that can make things easier for the sender).
#4 Partly Withholding Information
My guide and my friend, Vartika Kashyap has always led the team with vigor, and the best lesson she ever taught me was on the foundation of effective team collaboration. She taught me that the key to effective collaboration will always be effective communication, and that kind of efficient and effortless communication can only result from workplace transparency.
Asynchronous communication works best with a free flow of information, knowledge, and resources. I would like to add that if the recipient has any doubts about the information they are free to share, they must be expected to follow up with their superiors for that kind of additional guidance. Thus, the key to acing this one might be to have a solid chain of command.
#5 Confusing Asynchronous With Synchronous
Since we set a time limit on how long a person can take in responding to an asynchronous message, there might also be a need to monitor the minimum amount of time in which your team is responding to these messages.
Because you see, If people are perceiving these messages as high-priority, they are likely to revert back as soon as they possibly can. Therefore, you need to find a remedy to this situation because this timeframe for sending replies could soon become the standard — and you do not want that. The key to solving this problem might be to define different communication channels that pertain to these 2 different kinds of communication. This, inevitably, brings us to a discussion on:
7 Most Popular Ways To Put This Communication To Use:
While reading this article, I am sure you have found yourself wondering how you didn’t even know you’ve been putting asynchronous communication to use over all these years. It is true, as we move forward, we see more and more ways in which we have been putting it to use. This undeniably has become possible due to the massive availability of asynchronous communication tools. All of these come with different purposes, and all of them are likely to hand you the gift of smooth and efficient communication on a golden platter.
For instance, there are:
#1 Online Collaboration Software
There are many different kinds of collaboration platforms out there, and chances are that you have been using them pretty religiously over the past years. These tools, as the name suggests, helps teams to stay in contact and achieve collective goals together.
These keep the team on the same page and help the team keep up with the main goals and milestones that they are working towards. These tools also help in uniting the whole team on a platform where information can be built up, added, modified, and shared.
#2 Documentation & Editing Tools
Tools such as Google Drive are an excellent example of tools that can be used for documentation and editing on the go. As you can imagine, asynchronous communication is all about but not limited to asking questions and presenting queries, but it is also about asking for and receiving feedback. It is rather easy to provide feedback and review work through tools that help you proof files and provide elaborate and comprehensive feedback.
This can be especially helpful for people working in content marketing because as you can see, the content team is going to submit their work in the form of docs and we are expected to review this work and provide our feedback on our own time.
#3 Project Management Tools
Project management tools also make asynchronous communication an important part of the everyday curriculum. These tools can help conduct communication in a way that no other type of tool can.
The instant messaging features aside, it helps teams build a functional workflow that always keeps people on the same page. These come with Kanban boards that give all the team members proper clarity of their tasks and responsibilities. All the communication that takes place on these tools is asynchronous. You will find that discussion, note-keeping, and task comments can only be made possible on just one platform through a great project management tool.
#4 Video Communication Tools
Tools such as Clickmeeting, allow you to record video meetings and elaborate webinars in high quality so that you can reach out to your team or your clients so the message you want to send gets delivered and the recipients can provide their insightful feedback or invaluable input anytime in the future.
The tools that offer video communication also help the users send recorded messages so that the sender has the ability to provide a detailed account of whatever they want to share and pass on the same message to the recipient through secure channels.
#5 Note-Sharing Software
Another place where you would find asynchronous communication absolutely thrive is in the world of note-keeping and sharing software solutions. These help a team always stay in sync and share information on the go.
It is also a platform where one can dump as much information as is possibly required to bring some clarity into the equation. In addition to that, it also proves to be a very convenient way to keep track of loose ends. These also allow the team to store important reference points all in one place. They can help you store information collectively, thus forming the best place for online collaboration and, consequently, asynchronous communication.
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ProofHub Is The Way To Do Asynchronous Communication Right
ProofHub is a project management tool that helps teams keep a track of ongoing projects and upcoming tasks. However, I would argue that it is much more than just that. It is a place where teams get to come together and collectively achieve goals through seamless collaboration.
It is undeniably the kind of tool that provides you mediums for communication in many shapes and forms. I would like to give you a brief account of all of these ways with these 5 examples:
ProofHub has this great feature of creating project notes. The best part about these is the fact that can be organized in numerous ways.
- These can be separated into different notebooks as per different topics.
- You can even create different notes corresponding to different projects.
- In fact, your teammates get to create private notes as well to which they can always come back for reference.
Discussions are another way in which ProofHub helps you do asynchronous communication right.
- With this feature you get to record and document brainstormed ideas, come to important conclusions, and share information in the form of links and media of almost any kind.
- These discussion topics can also be organized very well through different projects and different sets of teams.
Asynchronous communication is all about but not limited to asking questions and sharing feedback, it is also about expressing appreciation for the team and celebrating milestones. ProofHub comes through with managing this kind of communication as well with the provision of “Announcements”.
This feature allows you to make people aware of all the causes for celebration within the team. Additionally, it also helps the manager congratulate the team for their collective efforts that result in admirable success.
Another way in which ProofHub helps the team with asynchronous communication is with comments. It helps the team be proactive and insightful by providing the team a chance to provide their views in brief with ease. With these comments, one can also @mention an assignee or another teammate who needs to see it. This means that there is no way the recipient of the comment is going to miss it.
I saved the best for the last — proofing is an exclusive feature of ProofHub where documents and media files can be actively reviewed and feedback can be readily shared. Although here’s the best part — the way that one gets to give feedback is through elaborate annotation and mark-up features. These can make it easy for the recipient of the feedback to understand what is expected of them and make further changes.
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The takeaway from this piece is as clear as day – asynchronous communication can be found in abundance today because it is what the professional world needs right now.
There are several advantages of pursuing this method of communication and there are many ways to do so. (I sure hope that I have nicely cleared them up for you with this article.)
I hope that you can value asynchronous communication as much as my team does and divide your means of communication so this whole process can help you out a lot more. With that, I will leave you to try new asynchronous communication tools such as ProofHub which can, believe me, make your professional life a whole lot easier.