Will Online Collaboration Replace Traditional Communication Methods?

Please read the original post on the OnePlace Blog, published September 2, 2010.

Online team collaboration is a hot topic of discussion, and managing communications in the cloud is something many businesses are looking into and implementing these days. There are a great many benefits to online collaboration, but do these benefits really help? Will they replace the traditional forms of communication?

Will we all end up typing, IMing, emailing and tweeting so much that we lose the ability to speak? Will we be able to function in a face-to-face meeting?

Here are a few popular, more traditional, communication methods that can be enhanced by effective online team collaboration.

Phone Calls
Collaboration Pro: Have you ever been on a phone call, with so much being talked about that you feel you’ve missed a great deal of information after the call? Or perhaps you spaced out a bit and didn’t hear an important part of the conversation? An effective online collaboration tool can help you manage these communications to make sure they are stored and able to be reviewed later.

Collaboration Con: When reading text, it’s hard to gauge someone’s expressions, and you may miss the nuances of communication, and misinterpret what the other is saying.

In-Person Meetings
Collaboration Pro: By connecting your team members, prospects and clients inside an online collaboration tool, you no longer have to spend the time and money to travel for face-to-face meetings. You can also start working with virtual teammates by finding the right person for the job regardless of where they live. Now, your business can expand and service a greater distance without running up a huge travel bill.

Collaboration Con: You may never get to meet your out of town teammates or customers, and in certain situations, in-person meetings are crucial.

Emails
Collaboration Pro: There are so many improvements an effective collaboration solution can make to your email communications, it’s difficult to list them all here. Now, when your information is managed more effectively, you can communicate with team members without CCing them on everything, you can find relevant information more easily without having to sift through thousands of emails, and your inbox won’t be clogged up by large files traveling back and forth. Not to mention the fact that your files will be managed much better, and your team will be able to handle current file versions in an orderly fashion.

Collaboration Con: Every single person you communicate with each day is not inside your collaboration solution, so you will still have to deal with email from those people.

Our recommendation is to find the right balance for managing all communications and collaboration in your business and work with a team to figure out what makes sense for your processes. Use a collaboration solution to enhance your communication style, and help propel you in a positive direction for the future.

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