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Instant Messaging: A Better Tool for Collaboration Than Email

By Tim Martin | Small Business

As businesses move more and more to cloud based computing for collaboration, new research suggests that moving to instant messaging for collaboration can help yield better results as well.

A new report from the journal Computer Standards and Interfaces compared two work groups, one using email and one using instant messaging, and found the group that used instant messaging generated more ideas to solve a business problem.

Instant Messaging: A Better Tool for Collaboration Than Email image EMail Vs Instant Messaging 300x241Instant Messaging V/S Email

So why do business instant message solutions bring about more collaboration among work teams?

Decrease Formality
The work environment often demands certain formalities like when meeting new clients or presenting to the board. But collaboration flourishes when ideas have room to organically grow and evolve.

Email denotes a formal communication whereas instant messaging is geared more toward informal conversations where you can joke, use short hand and “text speak,” and let ideas fly.

By reducing formality in collaboration, you encourage creative brainstorming and better ideas.

Authentic Conversations
We’ve all read lengthy emails that never quite get around to the point. The sender spends too much time trying to cover their behinds by using the right words, using the right language and echoing the prevailing thinking in the organization rather than really offering new ideas or insights.

The immediacy of instant messaging doesn’t allow for this kind of grand standing in emails. Conversations happen at a faster pace with more immediacy. These quick exchanges offer the sender much less time to get the message “right” and put the focus more on saying what’s on your mind.

It also reduces the likelihood members of an organization will abandon a great idea while over-thinking or over-judging their email content and offers a quick way to get an idea out in the open before your brain has a chance to muck it up.

The Personal Touch
Emails have a way of becoming impersonal. You can send it and walk away, letting the recipient read it in his own time and choosing when to reply. And if you’ve been cc’d on an email, you can get out of responding all together. You’re just one of many who received the message.

Instant messages have a more personal touch. They come with an immediacy of a one-on-one conversation and prompt an immediate response. And since you’re often talking with just one person, you can’t ignore the message, assuming someone else will respond or take on the work.

Collaboration works best when all members on the team get engaged in a project. Business instant message solutions encourage team engagement and help produce more dynamic ideas and solutions.

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