With the advancement of technology, there has been a decrease in face-to-face conversations. Some things can be handled quickly through a quick phone call or text, while others may require a virtual face-to-face meeting. Knowing the proper channel of communication to use is vital to business success.
What communication channel is right for you? The answer most likely varies depending on the situation.
An email should be used when someone is expected to follow up with information and to help create a paper trail of correspondence and documentation. The expected time for a reply to an email could be several hours from the time the email chain was started. Therefore, this is not a good form of communication when an immediate response is needed.
When an immediate response is needed to answer simple questions, a phone call will suffice. However, it is very important to make note of the location of the person you are calling and check the time zone. It is not a good business practice to call individuals in the late evening or early morning hours when they otherwise would not be working.
Additionally, it is possible that the individual you are working to reach is unavailable. In this case, you should leave a detailed message with why you are calling and leave your information for them to return your call. Should their voicemail be full or un-activated, an email follow-up should be used.
Virtual meetings are great for conversations that require more time and detail. In addition to this, they add the ability to read and respond to the body language of individuals with whom you are meeting. These forms of meetings are very common among working professionals where a face-to-face meeting is not possible.
There are several platforms that offer video conferencing including Skype, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, and Zoom. Because particular businesses have their own preferences, it is vital to know which platform the person with whom you are wishing to meet prefers. This will help allow for the meetings to run more smoothly and efficiently.
No matter how you decide to meet with someone, the most vital part of the conversation will be to ensure that you close the loop. You should leave the meeting with the answers you need, the follow-up planned, and ready to take on any next steps.