When it comes to collaborating with colleagues these days, choosing the right communication tool can be as important as the communication itself.
Send an email, and you might not get a timely reply. Post a question in Slack, and you might miss information from a colleague who never checks your team channel. Schedule a videoconference when a phone call would have sufficed, and you’ll annoy everyone who’s exhausted by living life online.
How do you assess the relative strengths of your communication options, the preferences of colleagues and your own digital skills?
Some people are quicker than others to figure out how to leverage the features of the new technologies in platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Google Workspace, Slack, Basecamp and Zoom—which can cause friction with co-workers who are slower to adapt.
“We are expecting people to learn etiquette at breakneck speeds and then getting frustrated with each other because we don’t know how we ought to be doing it,” says Jeffrey Hall, professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas.