Text or Talk?

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Here’s a table to help you think about your choices with remote and hybrid teams.


Synchronous communication happens in real time, where at least two individuals are exchanging information, at the same time with each other. That’s not to say that you need to be communicating in person for this to be deemed synchronous communication. This type of communication can be virtual as well, either scheduled or a little more impromptu – think “water-cooler” chat!


Asynchronous communication is communication that has a lag between when a message is sent and when the person receiving it interprets it. This type of communication isn’t generally conducted in person, nor is it planned for or scheduled. 


Research has found that the “best” communication medium depends on which communication needs are more important for a given situation on a specific team.


Most tasks in knowledge work require individuals to properly convey complex information, and to converge on shared meanings. Choosing a single medium for any task may be less effective than using a set of media that the group chooses depending on the process. A team can use email to convey the status of a project externally, and an issue tracker to converge on the understanding of the individual state of the tasks.