Is office chatter slowing you down?

Saturday, September 12, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

(Photo: Courtesy of Microsoft Windows Live Website)

Instant messaging (IM) is a form of real-time communication between two or more people based on typed text. The text is conveyed via devices connected over a network such as the Internet¹”. There are several services available for IM; two of the more frequently used ones are Windows Live Messenger and AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). So why the heck would you bother texting back and forth when you could just talk with this individual on the phone or in person? Good question. With face-to-face communication there is an obligation to converse, even if you spoke with this individual just a moment ago. It is natural to carry on a conversation with another person and can be uncomfortable if you do not. Granted there are some exceptions, especially when you work closely with certain individuals where the relationship has developed a rhythm and the need for idle conversation is limited.

There are many advantages with IM which help gain productivity and accomplish goals:

§ If you have a quick question someone can answer for you, you don’t have to pick up the phone and feel rude cutting them short with a quick reply, you can save those crucial moments. Rather than walking across the office to their desk, just send them a quick IM, get your answer and move on with your work.

§ It is impossible to have multiple verbal conversations at once. Our minds are just not good at processing verbal data of multiple conversations. This is NOT true with IM. IM allows you to hold multiple conversations with more than one individual at a time. In fact you can hold multiple conversations with ONE individual at the same time and still be able to process the information clearly.

§ Transferring files is timely via IM. Often people are not checking their email frequently a needed file could sit idly by in their inbox. IM allows you to drag the file directly into the message, hit send and the file instantly is transferred to the intended party.

§ Frequently individuals will use IM during a meeting to communicate essential information with their counterparts outside of the meeting. It is a way to keep the line of communication open for situations which may arise during those lengthy gatherings and avoid disturbance to the flow of the meeting.

§ During conference calls with clients, colleagues will communicate with one another via IM to ensure the message they are conveying to the client is consistent. It allows one colleague to interject their thoughts to the other colleague without pause allowing the message to appear seamless.

§ During presentations IM allows team members to collaborate with one another sharing thoughts on how they can utilize the ideas being presented.

Instant messaging can be a useful tool when used properly, however it can be easily abused if you are not careful. Set your boundaries, set your rules, keep it quick, keep it precise and most of all keep it productive.

Use IM to increase productivity through quick answers, swift file transfers, and instant collaboration.

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