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Old 10 May 2021, 07:55 PM   #1
TenFour
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Slack/Email/Text?

A Harvard Business Review article pointing out the confusing and inefficient use of multiple communication systems, and what to do about it. https://hbr.org/2021/05/did-you-get-my-slack-email-text

I agree that the proliferation of multiple platforms is confusing, so places I've worked have generally found good old email works best for most things. Of course, one of its key advantages is that you can communicate with almost anyone anywhere in the world using email, and you also maintain a complete record of the conversation that is easily searched, stored, and organized. Personally, I have found internal chat systems almost useless for any business-related communications except for chit chat, time wasting, and an alert that someone has brought in a birthday cake. The phone can be critical when you need to cut through a lot of time-wasting back and forth. However, young workers are increasingly reluctant to pick up the phone and talk to the point I think it is hampering their performance at work.
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Old 10 May 2021, 09:44 PM   #2
chrisretusn
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I'm glad I am retired, email was the primary method when I worked. It's still the primary method for me today. I use SMS for a few things. I dislike instant messaging for anything.

The article mentions video, until recently I never considered it, aside from occasionally talking with family. Now it seems meeting are now being conducted via this medium. I had a Department meeting just a few days ago on Zoom.

When I said retired that meant from a paying job. Now it's all work, no pay.

Last edited by chrisretusn : 11 May 2021 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 10 May 2021, 10:11 PM   #3
TenFour
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I have found Zoom meetings infinitely more productive than in-person meetings. I like eliminating the need to travel to the meeting and arrive early, the need to wait while others arrive late, the interminable chit chat that always goes on, and the ability to loop people in who are not able to travel to the meeting are all wonderful. For my small organization we have seen 100% better attendance, much shorter and more concise meetings, and better records of what went on.
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Old 11 May 2021, 04:42 PM   #4
janusz
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Originally Posted by TenFour View Post
For my small organization we have seen [...] better records of what went on.
Just curious: do you record the meetings instead of producing the minutes?
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Old 11 May 2021, 07:06 PM   #5
TenFour
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Yes, for major meetings, like board meetings we record the full meeting and then the person taking the notes has a perfect record of the meeting. The note taker then can produce better written notes too.
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Old 11 May 2021, 07:24 PM   #6
JeremyNicoll
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I agree that email is best.

However I have in the last few years found that the online chat facility offered (in some cases forced on us) by utility companies when there's no option to speak directly to someone on the phone is in fact preferable to a phone call.

Why? Because some of those systems will email you a transcript of the whole discussion - but of course you don't know if you're using one of the systems that will, until the end of the discussion... There's always a risk that the connection will fail and the discussion vanish. So about twice a minute a do a Ctrl-A Ctrl-C and paste the whole discussion into an open text file, which I tidy-up later.
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Old 11 May 2021, 07:24 PM   #7
janusz
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If I understand it correctly the written minutes are still produced.
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Old 11 May 2021, 07:33 PM   #8
TenFour
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Yes, for most meetings we just have written notes, but for major meetings we record the meeting and take written notes.

As to chat, I rarely encounter a chat system for customer support that actually does anything other than waste too much time. Something that could take two minutes if you were talking to a real human being who knows what he/she is doing will take 20 minutes of back and forth via chat and then your problem is rarely solved. I think customer support chat is just a way for companies to claim they are providing support while they really aren't. If they were willing to hire people with skills instead you might be able to get real support, but NOT! Sadly, most customer support is just worthless.
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Old 11 May 2021, 07:43 PM   #9
chrisretusn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TenFour View Post
I have found Zoom meetings infinitely more productive than in-person meetings. I like eliminating the need to travel to the meeting and arrive early, the need to wait while others arrive late, the interminable chit chat that always goes on, and the ability to loop people in who are not able to travel to the meeting are all wonderful. For my small organization we have seen 100% better attendance, much shorter and more concise meetings, and better records of what went on.
I am the dude on charge of a local organization that is part of a larger organization. Locally we are holding our meetings in person. When it comes to the department level, our meetings are on Zoom. It works out well enough and the only way given the current circumstances in which travel between countries is restricted. Our department convention in July will be held via Zoom. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.
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Old 11 May 2021, 08:08 PM   #10
TenFour
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I found the first Zoom meetings were a bit awkward, but now that everyone is used to them they work well. With bigger meetings you have to either mute everyone who isn't speaking or ask them over and over again to please mute themselves. While I was trying to ask everyone before one major meeting a couple was loudly discussing their personal lives to the point nobody could even hear me, so I had to mute everyone from the control panel. Another woman one time who was an integral part of the meeting was apparently making dinner and the sounds of chopping, food processors, etc. drowned out the meeting several times. Yesterday it was barking dogs. The worst I find are the people that set up their camera so you are looking up at the ceiling or they are walking or something else that keeps the camera bouncing around.
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Old 12 May 2021, 02:01 AM   #11
n5bb
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I'm participating in an IEEE standards group Webex meeting at this moment, while I'm making this post. There are 19 people on the call from all over the world. I retired from a technical sales (engineering) job 18 months ago, but I'm still very involved with professional, public service, and hobby groups and busier than ever. To assist with hosting local hobby group meetings, I pay for a Webex "Starter" account, since this allows recording of sessions and provides some other benefits over a free account.

It's difficult to accurately communicate emotion via textual means , so collaboration methods which use live audio and video are much better when making complex decisions.

I find virtual (Webex, Zoom, etc.) collaboration tools to be the best method for most general group meetings for several reasons:
  • Participants do not have to travel to a common location.
  • A wide range of presentation methods (Powerpoint, text documents, audio, static images, saved video, and live video) can be used.
  • Any participant can be allowed to present information.
  • All participants can view and hear the material equally. Everyone is in the front row of the meeting.
  • Information can be looked up at any time by participants on their attached computers. This allows real-time resolution of issues which might take quite a while if people were meeting in person (without their computers) or via email.
  • Meetings can be recorded, allowing those who could not participate live to view the meeting or take notes at a later time.
Text messaging is useful for immediate very short communication, but similar to shouting at someone across a room it's not useful for making long-term decisions where you want to save the communication for future reference.

Physical in-person meetings are better for improving emotional communication and developing personal relationships, but virtual meetings with webcams are nearly as good and better when a pandemic or geographical distancing makes such physical meetings difficult.

Bill
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Old 12 May 2021, 08:10 PM   #12
TenFour
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A wide range of presentation methods (Powerpoint, text documents, audio, static images, saved video, and live video) can be used.
Good point! At so many in-person meetings it is a struggle to see what someone is projecting, but with Zoom we can all have the document or item right in front of us. It also saves a lot of printing of PowerPoint slides so that people can actually read them. We have a speaker's series and in the past these people had to travel to get to us and there were always technical glitches, but now that person can be in their own office with their own equipment and we avoid having to set up equipment.
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Old 13 May 2021, 05:09 AM   #13
JeremyNicoll
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TenFour View Post
As to chat, I rarely encounter a chat system for customer support that actually does anything other than waste too much time. Something that could take two minutes if you were talking to a real human being who knows what he/she is doing will take 20 minutes of back and forth via chat and then your problem is rarely solved. I think customer support chat is just a way for companies to claim they are providing support while they really aren't. If they were willing to hire people with skills instead you might be able to get real support, but NOT! Sadly, most customer support is just worthless.
My UK broadband supplier (Virgin Media) outsource (I presume) their first level support to some foreign place, where the call handlers don't speak good enough English, and - audio quality on the calls is iffy. Using an online chat system is better because written English is in use rather than spoken English. And, since one is sometimes changing financial contractual terms, I am MUCH happier having a transcript of what they claimed their new deal is going to provide, than having a decent conversation with a fluent native speaker but no record (for me anyway) of what was said.

I agree that it takes longer by chat, especially if the handler is running several conversations at once and only comes back to my one every minute or so. I don't doubt that the handlers are correct in what they are trying to say, but I'm often not quite so sure that they are answering the question I asked, rather than something else. FIne nuance gets lost in spoken calls.
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