Communication is at the very core of who we are. All animals (and some plants) communicate. What sets humans apart is how our forms of conveying information evolves. Right now, communication technology is dominated by online collaboration and social media platforms. From email and instant messaging, to video conferencing, web meetings and intranet sites, online communication technologies are abundant in almost every business today. But are they always successful? It’s estimated that between 50% and 80% of communication change programs do not live up to expectations – because of communication (Further reading: Top Communication Trends in 2015) Since communication is central to every business, and failure in this area can lead to low morale, productivity, and performance, getting it right is crucial. The future of communication technology is all about balancing different software and finding the best tool for the job. Let’s take a quick look at the most efficient communication technologies and how to use them in perfect harmony, for the best results. Optimising communication technology Email Everyone in the work force is acquainted with email. It has been a standard technology since the mid-1990s and continues to be the most widely used forms of business communication. When used properly, email is a very effective means of external communication – or internal communication when a business exists in more than one physical location. Short email threads allow users to keep track of related conversations and attached files. Intranet sites What better way is there of keeping everybody ‘in the loop’ than to have one centralised source of constantly updated of information? Intranet sites act as a hub, where employees can access information, based on their needs. Sections can be created for new starters, procedures, software walkthroughs, surveys, job listings, and even less formal topics with updates about company social events. Instant Messaging The ability to message a co-worker instantly cannot be overvalued. Add the capacity for file sharing and screen capture, and you have one of the most important communication technologies in business today. From a human resources perspective, status alerts will also show managers and supervisors which employees are at their desks and which ones are in meetings, at lunch, or even idle. Videoconferencing Where possible, face-to-face communication should be encouraged - whether this means calling a meeting or, more practically, speaking via video conferencing. The benefits of balancing textual communication with “face time” in this way are numerous. • Resolving misunderstandings – fewer miscommunications occur when humans can see the face of other humans. Where they do occur, they are more successfully resolved face-to-face. • Building comfort and confidence levels – research shows that asking favours of people and commending them on excellent work creates a bond. This is strengthened when it is a visible interaction, not solely text based. • Improved communication – instructions, questions, and discussions can all be conducted most efficiently when each party can observe body language and voice pitch. Proficient use of these communication technologies will help to ensure efficient processes in your business. (Read: Three business benefits of Video Conferencing) The future of communication technology 1. Improving employee involvement and engagement - something as simple as an employee survey can result in learnings on company culture, work habits, and even innovations for company policy and procedure. Social media platforms provide real-time feedback which can very easily be measured. 2. Building a collaborative culture – successful business transformation cannot occur without an understanding and acceptance of new processes. Collaborating through online communication allows a sense of community, where people can learn from each other and support transitions. 3. More effective two-way communication – disseminating information is one thing, but being able to respond to it is even more important. The ability to truly communicate via social media for example, means analysing data, identifying pain points, and responding to them quickly and effectively. 4. Creating more engaging learning experiences – where one-on-one learning is not an option, videocasts, live web meetings, and UGC (user generated content) hosted on sites like YouTube, are an ideal way to deliver personalised training. Creating value through collaborative communication technology Working on these small steps and adopting these approaches to communication technology can result in big value for your company. Collaboration and communication tools will reduce the time your organisation needs to undertake any business practices; from implementing any change programs, training and retaining staff, to working with new clients or introducing a new line of products or services. Having systems in place will build a foundation for employees, ensuring more successful communications and performance, going forward. When managed correctly, social media and collaboration tools provide a powerful platform that can help enterprises increase productivity and profit well into the future. Further reading: Explore our unified collaboration solutions which bring people together via email, telephony, audio conferencing, video, instant messaging and web conferencing, or download our Collaboration Whitepaper. Experience and Expertise where it counts Vita Enterprise Solutions offers an array of communication solutions to suit your needs. Talk to us on 1300 139 310 or enquire online.