Modern business communication seems to be an all-encompassing endeavor. From video conferences to email, office social networks and more, each mode of interaction requires its own approach. What works for one channel might not be very well suited to another. Knowing when to move between platforms — say, from a message to an email — is an important skill, too.
Today, we’ll explore how to maximize the effectiveness of one vital communication channel in particular: internal messaging.
Internal Messaging Strategies for Business Communication
Though chat clients and text messaging have been popular forms of communication in individuals’ personal lives for some time, their introduction to the workplace has been a more recent trend. It’s worth going over some of the basics, as well as the finer points, about what makes for effective business communication when it comes to internal messaging.
Promote Professionalism: Internal Messaging Is Part Of the Work Environment
The first point to emphasize should not take anybody by surprise, but it can’t be understated. With internal messaging, you should always be aware that what you say could be re-shared, even in public. It seems obvious — and it’s long been a given for email communication — but there seems to be a never-ending stream of public records that point to individuals who operated as if they were unaware of this principle.
For example, a recent New York Times article quoted several internal messages and emails from the employees of an aircraft manufacturer. These communications were shared with congressional investigators. Professional conduct is paramount in all interactions, no matter the medium you use.
Go Live: Messaging Works Best When It’s Synchronous
Different business communication methods are better suited to synchronous or asynchronous communication, and those options exist on a continuum.
- By their nature, videoconferencing, face-to-face meetings and phone calls are in-the-moment, live methods of communication. They can be recorded for later review, but two-way interaction can only take place during a designated period of time.
- On the other end of the spectrum, email is generally considered to be asynchronous. Sure, you may occasionally get a quick reply or even send a prompt response yourself. Nevertheless, the general expectation with email is that you are sending a message that does not demand a quick response. It might not even require a response at all.
So where does internal messaging and texting fit within this range? While you have some leeway, this method of business communication works best for delivering timely information and receiving quick replies when applicable.
Timing Is Everything: Get Them While They’re On
The modern business environment includes teams distributed around the globe. While this can produce an exciting, energizing dynamic, time zones can present a hurdle for business communication. A 2019 survey from SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, reported that 56% of respondents said it was difficult to collaborate across time zones. Perhaps unsurprisingly, email was the leading form of communication for these interactions. Still, 50% used instant messaging and 49% used texts.
Use internal messaging at times when you know everybody will be on — especially when time zones overlap and when you know workloads are usually lower, allowing people to catch up on communication. That way you can engage in better spur-of-the-moment conversations. For your particular business, the ideal time might be in the middle of the afternoon or toward the end of the day. Certain days of the week might be preferable, too.
Stay On Topic: Keep Water-Cooler Talk To Designated Zones
Internal messaging is not ideally suited for informal chit-chat. It’s best for quick communication and friendly on-topic ideation. That’s not to say that building rapport isn’t an important part of business communication. It just means that keeping the pet pictures and personal milestones in a separate channel keeps your internal messaging platforms clear for priority communications. A better place for the virtual water cooler could be on an intraoffice social networking site or a standalone app. Even a designated email thread could work in a pinch, especially for smaller workplaces.
If participants in internal messaging start to go off on a tangent, group leaders should do their best to redirect the conversation. Oftentimes, when faced with an overly lengthy message, recipients can lose sight of the important details and get distracted by something trivial. Make sure to maintain focus throughout the exchange.
Want to learn more about how internal messaging can be used to enhance workplace communication for your business? Take a look at GREXT today.