Technology has not only transformed the way we connect with others in our private lives, it has also dramatically reshaped how we communicate at work. With globalization and the emergence of “anywhere workers,” leveraging business communication tools that can enhance productivity, improve efficiency, foster collaboration, and build team culture has become increasingly important in the modern workplace. Here are the top 5 business communication tools I find tremendously useful for those purposes:
- Email (G Suite: Gmail for Business): For organizations large and small, email is an essential communication channel that most employees use on a daily basis. Without rebuking the other email platforms I have had to put up with in the past, Gmail is by far my personal favorite. With a straightforward and user-friendly interface, Gmail makes it very easy for me to organize my inbox and keep up with various internal and external email threads. While anyone can create a Gmail account for free, Gmail for Business is part of the G Suite, which is available for purchase in Basic, Business, and Enterprise editions. With G Suite, team members get branded email addresses (custom-name@company-domain) as well as secure access to shared calendars and storage on Google Drive, allowing everyone on the team to schedule meetings and collaborate with colleagues with ease and efficiency.
- Instant Messaging (Slack): Along with email, instant messaging has also become an indispensable tool in many modern offices. It’s a given that being able to communicate online in real time helps immensely when collaborating with remote colleagues, but frankly even connecting with people who sit further in the same office becomes easier and more convenient with SMS. There are plenty of messaging platforms that can get the job done, and my favorite has to be Slack by far. With Slack, one can create group chats and various public and private channels, share files and documents with ease, develop a thread surrounding a comment, react to posts with emojis and “gifs,” tag people within the workspace, and more. These features combined help to spice up teamwork and make business instant messaging more interesting, and Slack’s straightforward and intuitive interface is just icing on the cake.
- Project Management (Asana): In addition to helping us stay organized and on top of various tasks, a project management software like Asana can come in handy as a great business communications tool as well. Users can add tags, sub-tasks, due dates, multiple followers, as well as comments for any given assignment in Asana, allowing everyone who’s involved with a project to collaborate directly on the platform. Instead of sending a separate email or instant message about an update on a specific ticket, a follower on the task can comment directly in Asana and tag all those who need to be notified to streamline the collaboration process.
- Web Conferencing (UberConference by Dialpad): Whether it’s having an online meeting with coworkers in remote offices or delivering a presentation to clients who are in different time zones, modern companies now rely on web conferencing tools more than ever before. UberConference was the very first online meeting tool I used when I worked at an agency a few years back, and it remains my favorite to this day because of its slick design, comprehensive features, intelligent call transcription capabilities, and last but not least, the music on hold. Even though at the present moment I’ve put “I’m on Hold” on hold, this tune still makes me smile whenever I hear it on others’ UberConference lines. Another feature I really appreciate is UberConference’s screen sharing options, which let users choose between sharing a file, a window, or the entire screen. If you always have too many windows open on your browser like I do, it’s more professional to just share your presentation deck with the client during a conference call rather than the entire screen. Finally, conference participants can also use the group chat feature to post information or ask questions without interrupting a speaker.
- Social Networking (Workplace by Facebook): Of course not every company will feel the need to adopt a social networking site at the organization level, but a platform like Workplace by Facebook can certainly be useful in enhancing a positive team culture. Just as with a personal social media account, one can share photos and videos on Workplace with colleagues, who can then react to and engage with these posts. In addition to publishing work-related updates, team members can use Workplace to announce exciting news in their personal lives as well. Furthermore, the option to create groups for different teams, interests, and hobbies can help to build communities at work.
Having worked at an agency, a publicly traded company, and now at a fast growing startup, I have witnessed firsthand the important role business communication tools played in each of these organizations despite of the nature of the business and company size. From instant messaging platform to web conference software, business communication tools help to close the physical distance between us and the individuals we work with, thus propelling global and mobile workforces.
Which business communication tools do you find the most useful in your work? Share in the comment below.