Asynchronous Communication vs. Synchronous Communication

by | Nov 26, 2020

To be able to communicate effectively is one of the indispensable skills one can master. But, how do you harness the power of conversing well among your colleagues when everyone is cooped up at home?

Be it across the cubicle or across the world, communicating well is what takes businesses ahead. What is more important are the modes of communication that they opt for. Since there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there are contrasting alternatives every team can have their hands on.

A perfect method of communication can not only help teams working remotely but also those working across the globe while sitting at the luxury of their homes.

Read on as we dive into the two different styles of communication, their pros and cons & how to use both of them to have effective communication.

What is Asynchronous Communication?

Asynchronous communication refers to transmitting information to a person or a team, unrestricted of time. 

Communication has enabled the vast talent pool and skill set to be included in an organization without the fuss of geographical locations and time zones. 

What Is The Difference Between Asynchronous And Synchronous Communication?

As much as a complex term, asynchronous communication implies conversations that aren’t done in real-time and leave some spare time for the recipient to respond. Asynchronous communication allows team members to respond with respect to their availability and is not scheduled. Instances include emails, letters, text messages, direct messaging, etc.

Whereas synchronous communication revolves around the idea of a real time communication, where decisions, conversations and discussions are made on the spot. To put it across in simpler terms, synchronous communication is how we have communicated since the beginning of our lives.

Likewise, synchronous communication implies a seamless conversation that is done in real-time. Communications in actual workplaces happen this way with real-time responses. Synchronous communication can be virtual or in person. For example, video conferencing, calls, generic watercooler chat sessions. 

With the current light of the scenario, asynchronous communications have only grown. Due to the tools that don’t adequately serve the purpose of communicating what needs to be said, prompt tools are increasing. All our meetings being replaced also gives rise to asynchronous communication. 

Examples Of Synchronous And Asynchronous Communication

Synchronous Communication

  • Virtual meetings on platforms like Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, Jitsi, etc.
  • Phone calls
  • Instant text messaging on platforms like Slack
  • Direct interaction

Asynchronous Communication

The Problems With Real-Time-All-The-Time Communication

Keeping people occupied for long meeting hours might not be feasible as they could have important and urgent tasks at hand. If you still prefer to focus on the task at hand and revert according to your convenience, chances are that discussions might have already moved on ahead, without you being able to give your input or suggestion. To avoid sticky situations like this, people end up being online most of the time or keep checking their phones at regular intervals to be updated. This often tends to jeopardize the work structure that they’ve laid out for their day and end up being more pressurized throughout the day.

Surveys suggest that meetings often tend to waste not noly time but money too.

Work operations like writing, web designing, brainstorming and troubleshooting within the organization makes it very important to set aside time for unwavering focusing spans.Constantly buzzing phones or colleagues checking in for certain deliverables will make it all the more difficult to concentrate on tasks.

Productivity is overshadowed by being in the loop constantly and being available to answer questions and solve problems round the clock.

The quickest response you give to any situation is something that is thought impulsively and is not reflected well which leads to a low quality input. It is only after some time that you reach an impeccable solution.

Asynchronous Communication: Pros and Cons

Asynchronous Communication : Pros 

  • Allows you to leave a message at your own pace, without having to jump into crowded conversations right away. With due respect to the recipient’s time zone.
  • Helps you to self-analyze your responses before hitting send and gives you the time to edit and send across a well-thought insight instead of a knee jerk reaction.
  • Helps you spend the most dedicated time of your work hours to focus on things that require your undivided attention
  • Lays a track record of the things said.
  • Lets you save time on meaningless meetings and give feedback in the meantime
  • In case of any mistakes made, asynchronous communication and gives time to rectify them and then pass it onto others.
  • Companies that have an exceeding number of employees can resort to asynchronous communication to pass on the information, as getting so many people at the same place won’t be a suitable option.
  • Good quality output.

Asynchronous Communication : Cons

  • You could miss out on the tone and facial expression which is more likely to happen in an asynchronous communication pattern like text messaging or calling.
  • Not preferable for work that requires to be done urgently or requires urgent feedback.
  • Without a trust-based relationship or knowing the teammate well, the other person might take time to respond to messages or might not feel comfortable talking to an unknown entity.
  • Could feel like a formal or a “bot-like” tone and would lack the human interaction touch.
  • Due to recipients responding as per their convenience, the conversations move at a slower rate as compared to synchronous communication.

Synchronous Communication: Pros and Cons

Synchronous Communication: Pros

  • Suited for work that requires a quick turnaround.
  • Well suited in terms of building trust.
  • Apt for two-way conversations or exchanging inputs from both the sides.
  • At times of crisis, it’s important to communicate directly and in a prompt fashion.

Synchronous Communication : Cons

  • Might lead to wasting time, while working on an urgent and important project, the focus could waver due to a real-time discussion that goes on in the office
  • Not advisable for people who require more time to come up with a well-formed response
  • Introverts may not be able to respond on the spot and can be overshadowed by people who are outspoken and loud.
  • Other members might not find pivoting and structuring their schedule according to a particular meeting suitable.
  • Requires both the sides to be physically present irrespective of what time it is for the other side irrespective of the time zone or geographical location.
  • If there is a technology glitch during an ongoing meeting, everyone has to wait until that problem is resolved to proceed ahead.

When To Prioritize Asynchronous Over Synchronous Communication And Vice-Versa

With Asynchronous Communication, employees can freely structure their day, and more time can be spent personally.

Asynchronous communication comes in with the benefit of having a track record for future references which would not necessitate you to take notes while the meeting is still in progress.

With the dawn of e-learning and work from the home culture on the rise, asynchronous communication is here to stay.

Synchronous communication serves a firm well when at times the employees are on a tight deadline and need to brainstorm a final idea with a fellow colleague. Needless to say, it couldn’t wait or else the project sways past the deadline. Synchronous communications help with urgent brainstorming sessions and to take immediate decisions.

In two-way conversations, not only do you answer questions but you are updated, you get to learn, understand perspectives and gain information regarding an ongoing project or a particular task.

Unlike asynchronous communication, conversations can be made and decisions reached upon at a faster rate.

Tools For Asynchronous Communication

  • Project management tools
  • Screenshots
  • Email
  • Informational Videos
  • Topic focused discussions
  • Treads over Instant Messaging

While we look for platforms that support both the modes of communications, Flujo comes with an integrated approach to match both these mediums.

The Team messenger & video calls are tools that work as a synchronous mode of communication, where it’s easy to discuss instantly the details of a given task with a tight deadline. With the help of integrations like Jitsi and Google meet, it’s easy to touch base or have a quick chat with your team members face to face.

Whereas, Direct messenger & and new features like Topics makeup for an asynchronous mode of communication. The DM doesn’t demand an instant reply to keep the conversation rolling. It can be done at ease on both sides . Threads can be used by teams to follow up with the conversations according to the members’ respective time zones, being on the same page as your team is easier than ever.

Topics in Flujo allow you to share thoughtful insights and allows your ideas to be heard. Ideas can be discussed and followed up on at one place rather than following up on group chats. Commenting on Topics enables the discussions to be in one place while eliminating the fear of conversations running ahead and losing sight of the conversation in long threads. With the already added comments, it’s easy to keep track of important takeaways from the discussions.

Best Practices For Asynchronous Communication

With advanced technology, it is possible to see your team members via video calls. While video conferencing turns out to be a synchronous mode of communication, to give the asynchronous modes of communication a human touch too, you can resort to sending video messages to your team.

Another option to make those conversations asynchronous would be to send video recordings of meetings to members who aren’t present.

For the work from home scenario, asynchronous communication turns out to be an apt mode of conversation, as the person at home could be juggling with many personal tasks. And getting back to messages when the recipient finds it conducive is what makes up for a common ground of agreement. 

A centralized portal for everyone in the team to be able to access the information, documents, tools and resources at any given time makes up for a sheer and unrestricted use of asynchronous communication. 

Summary

A lot of factors go into picking the right tool for your organization. If it is synchronous or asynchronous communication, picking one could depend on factors like the urgency or complexity of the task, if the employees are based in different time zones, if the communicated information is confidential and how the recipient prefers to receive the details. In conclusion, it all zero downs to what model suits you and your team members.

Without an efficient tool, sometimes a quick chat right across cubicles would take a couple of days to do in a remote working scenario when the team is spread out around the world.

Flujo helps you communicate and collaborate seamlessly while leveraging both synchronous and asynchronous modes of communication. If you would like to have both the possibilities in one tool, learn more about all the features of Flujo.

Happy Working!

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