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Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Communication

The audio space is evolving quickly. From the dramatic increase for the need of communication tools to adapt to the new norm of working remote, to the rise of voice-enabled products like home assistance and wearable tech, to the increase of social applications that leverage virtual spaces to keep users connected, it’s evident that more people are becoming aware of the power of voice technology, and specifically, live voice. Live voice is more than just a trend, however. It’s a tool to build connections, better relationships, and interact with people all over the world.

Choosing the appropriate channel for communicating messages is critical to how that message will be received and acted upon. Some of the variables to consider would be: how fast something needs to happen, how complex the message is, how much detail is necessary, how the recipient prefers to be communicated with, the environment they are sent from and so on. The answers often come down to the choice between synchronous vs. asynchronous communication.

What is synchronous communication?

Synchronous communication is communication that happens in “real time” — two or more parties are exchanging information in the same moment with one another.

Synchronous communication can be in-person or virtual, scheduled or impromptu. Some examples of synchronous communication methods:

– In-person meeting
– Phone call
– Video conferences
– Virtual spaces
– Sport applications that integrate with headsets where participants can speak to one another
– Walkie talkie devices

What makes synchronous communication useful?

Synchronous communication is perfect for when you need answers to a question right away. Its greatest strength is its immediacy. It’s also great for times when you need to brainstorm or when you want to be able to get opinions or ideas in real-time. It most closely resembles the conversations you’re used to from daily life.

How does synchronous communication fall short?

Because of the immediacy, it requires everyone to be in the same place IRL or virtual at the same time. This is a huge disadvantage for people who may be in multiple time zones or who may have difficulties with internet connections, availability of technology, or other challenges.

In a real-time conversation, there’s little time to consider an answer to questions or alternative solutions to problems. You may not have time to gather required information or resources to adequately address an issue.

What is asynchronous communication?

Asynchronous communication is when two (or more) people can communicate without the requirement that they be “present” at the same exact moment in time. Examples of asynchronous communication includes

– Text messaging
– Project management tools
– Instructional videos
– Video or audio recordings

What makes asynchronous communication useful?

Asynchronous communication works best when immediacy isn’t required. It allows all parties to consume and respond to content when it’s convenient, appropriate, or possible for them. They don’t have to stop their work to engage on someone else’s schedule.

Additionally, asynchronous communication allows more time to gather information, resources, thoughts, and opinions before answering questions, addressing concerns, or offering ideas.

Asynchronous communication is also more forgiving of mistakes and technology issues like poor network connection.

Where does asynchronous communication fall short?

In most cases, asynchronous communication isn’t as effective in times of crisis or when you need an answer right now. There is some concern, as well, that in many cases, asynchronous communication can be less engaging or personal than synchronous communication. That certainly can be true. An email is almost never going to be as personal as a phone call as the nuances conveyed from voice like tone and pacing is completely lost.

Synchronous vs. asynchronous? More like synchronous and asynchronous!

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach considering what communicate method works best for various use cases. To embrace the benefits of asynchronous and synchronous communication integrating both real time voice messaging tools that allow for playback as well as text messaging to offer users the flexibility needed for effective communication. Incorporating live voice can seem like a complicated overwhelming endeavour but by taking advantage of an easy-to-implement solution like the Voxer SDK, individual developers and enterprises can embed synchronous and asynchronous voice and messaging features into their existing platforms and applications. Get access to the Voxer SDK today

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