July 7, 2017
Workplace communication isn't simple anymore. Your coworkers might be on a different floor, in a different building or working from another state. Still, you need to communicate and connect with those coworkers in order to complete your work. The demands of the modern workplace have increased the importance and frequency of communications, but what about its quality? If your communication doesn’t lead to better connections between people, what’s the point?
Steps to Improving Workplace Communication
New and "cool" communication tools are part of the answer, but using them correctly can make all the difference when we convert our connections into productivity. We probably all use email, but we also probably all know someone who does not effectively use email. They reply to too many people, they get the dates wrong and they attach the wrong documents.
The aim of communications in the workplace, as I see it, is to escalate communications from something simple to something more advanced and useful - and to build strong connections.
Here are some tools that can help you do that...
1. Unified Messaging
In the world of unified communications, the ability to grab a voicemail as an audio file and attach it to an email has many advantages. It allows you to listen to the voicemail anywhere that you can access your email, and by putting them in the same place, you know you’re not missing anything.
UCaaS (Unified Communication as a Service) also gives you the ability to access this unified stream of messages through a web portal, on a mobile app, on your desktop application, on your email server or on the phone at your desk.
If you don’t want to listen to the message, however, you can add transcription and have the audio converted to text, making the message searchable in your inbox. It also allows you to quickly see the message content and respond when the situation doesn’t allow you to listen to the audio - like when you're in a meeting. Currently, transcription software is between 85 and 90 percent accurate; that’s good enough to figure out what the person is communicating.
The softphone is a software version of your desktop phone, plus a little more. It is software, and it does mimic everything your desktop phone does, but with the added benefit of mobile functionality - to your smartphone, to your laptop, to your tablet or to your desktop system. Every device seamlessly becomes your business phone so your coworkers and customers will never need more than one contact number for you.
Being able to communicate by video has been around for awhile, but it hasn’t always been easy and ubiquitous. Now you can do video chats with your desktop, your
From my experience, the advantages of video communication come into play instantly - you can see how engaged everyone is. If a meeting is audio-only, you know most of the people are doing something else while they are on the call. If you can see them and they can see you, they may not feel comfortable checking email and responding on their smartphone. Likewise, when meeting with customers via video, you can communicate more effectively by including facial reactions and body language.
What does escalation look like?
To me, the ability to escalate communication takes all of these tools and makes them easy to use, together and separately, for everyone. That’s the idea and the reality behind UCaaS. You can begin with a simple chat message, escalate it to a phone call if the conversation evolves, escalate it further into a video call if you both need to see what you are talking about and escalate it again if you need to involve more participants. Each step in that process can be one simple click away. When it is, communication using these tools can become incredibly powerful.