Every day we’re tasked with a variety of assignments we need to complete in order to remain employed, or keep our business running. Usually a business starts off with 1, 2, or maybe 3 people who have a passion for the work and want to make an impact on the world.
But as companies grow (and sometimes even when they’re still small) lines of communication break down. Sometimes we misinterpret what someone said, we do work that is either unnecessary or not top priority, or we fail to connect with one another to ensure we’re on track.
Luckily, we’re no longer bogged down by landlines, nor is it a requirement to meet in the same physical space to get our work done. Even the old way of calling into a conference can be a bit messy as you work with a directory, call waiting, 3/4/5-way calling, etc.
We now have a plethora of helpful, collaborative, online communication tools that we can access to make working together significantly easier.
1. Google Suite
Most everyone has used Google Suite at some point in their lives. It’s an easy online tool for creating (and sharing) documents, spreadsheets, powerpoints, and more. But it’s not like a document you write on your computer, save it, send a copy, then wait to hear feedback or get a return email with a marked up document. It’s much more immediate and efficient.
With Google Suite, you can invite whomever is needed to collaborate on a project. You can choose if they’re able to view, edit, or own the document, and you can even see in real time the edits that are made. You can also just add comments if you don’t want or need to edit something yourself. Now that you have the ability to work together simultaneously, there’s significantly less waiting, and significantly more productivity and collaboration.
But sometimes you need a more-immediate communication tool. That’s where Slack comes in.
It’s like AOL Instant Messenger (remember that?), but specifically for the workplace. You can create a variety of channels for specific departments or projects, and seamlessly chat back and forth. There’s both free and paid versions too, depending on the scope of your business’s needs.
Imagine having a quick back and forth on a Google doc in the comments section, or at the bottom of that same document. That can get real messy, real quick. It’ll be hard to locate information that was said before (Slack has a search feature), you’ll likely have to archive or remove the conversation from the document (and hope it isn’t deleted forever), or the comments will be distracting and out of hand, muddying the original purpose of the document.
Therefore, if there’s a text-message-like back and forth or a general discussion, stick to Slack. But considering how easily things can get misinterpreted online, as well as how complicated some subjects can be, there comes a time when you just need to talk face-to-face.
Zoom exploded after the pandemic hit, allowing businesses, educators, and professionals from all walks of life to be able to meet as necessary, communicate with one another, as well as see each other face-to-face. There are a ton of features available on Zoom such as blurring your background or making it look like you’re in space, to sharing a screen so you can walk a new hire through various how-to’s.
Plus, it’s a completely free tool to use (unless you want to upgrade), and you can easily invite people to meetings with the same link instead of requiring alternate usernames.
With these three tools, you can not only have a more streamlined work process, but you can also ensure your inbox isn’t cluttered with hundreds of one-line-back-and-forth email threads, or a chain of edited documents you have to keep updating with “Final” then “ACTUAL_FINAL” to ensure everyone has the correct information. It prevents you from making your email your to-do list, and gives you options for communicating in the proper way with the proper tools.
If that last paragraph in particular sounds like you – dozens of seemingly irrelevant emails, unnecessary chats, attachment after attachment of minor edits – then incorporating these online tools will be the key to your success and taming your inbox.
But if that practice has gone on for a long time, you may find organizing your inbox to be a daunting challenge. That’s why the ARTT™ Email Productivity course was created. This complimentary 45-minute webinar will help you learn how to feel in control of your inbox, be more responsive to important collaborators, and reduce your anxiety and stress. Tame the Email Beast!…ARTT™ demonstrates time-saving techniques within Outlook primarily; however, the concept is platform-agnostic. It is about teaching your human habits connected to technology (whether Outlook, Gmail, or Yahoo Mail).
Click the link, select your preferred day, and I’ll see you there!