Instant messaging is a solution that has picked up in the business world, and for good reason. While email allows for more passive communication, instant messaging allows for more instantaneous communication, similar to a phone call in its urgency. But are you using instant messaging in the proper way?
Just like with other technology solutions, your company should have a policy in place that governs how your employees use it. This means that you must establish clear guidelines for appropriate use of instant messaging. For example, having a group chat for a department is perfectly fine, but having a group that is exclusively for sharing distractions is a problem that can lead to too much wasted time.
You should always use greetings when sending instant messages, similar to the way you would if you were using emails. Using a salutation such as “Hi Name,” rather than opening the conversation with a question can make a world of difference. You should also try to use similar professional language in your IMs as you would in an email.
As we previously mentioned, the big difference between IM and email is that IMs are designed for instantaneous responses and quick conversations rather than long, drawn-out, detailed messages. The best way to use IMs is to use this to your advantage and to not use it like you would an email. If you expect someone to respond to a long IM that requires a detailed and analytic response, then it may look like the user is ignoring the message until they can find time to respond to it in the way that you expect.
Still, you’ll want to make sure that you are conveying thoughts and ideas clearly, but instant messaging is a great place to encourage questions to prevent communication gaps.
Most instant messaging applications allow the user to set their status. This might be something like Available, Away, In a Meeting, Busy, etc. If the user is anything but available, you should reconsider sending the message until the user is indeed available to take your message. Otherwise, there is a solid chance that the message will slip through the cracks.
All of that said, an instant message is not a substitution for a good old face-to-face conversation. Whenever possible, you should make an effort to have in-person conversations with your coworkers and staff. This helps you avoid instances of messages being taken out of context as well as establishes that you can make time in your busy day to make connections in this way. It’s just good to remind your coworkers and employees that, yes, we are still people, even if half the time our communications are done from the other side of a computer screen.
Microtechs can help you implement the best instant messaging platform that suits your company’s needs. To learn more, reach out to us at (415) 246-0101.