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Asynchronous vs Synchronous communication: When and how to use them both

Max Gayler
October 2, 2023
Remote Works

Asynchronous and synchronous communication. These words seem scarier than they actually are. They’re just a fancy way of saying “live” and “on demand” communication. 

What’s more exciting is the new technology that allows you to exercise both of these options. Fine tune your workflow to be completely trackable, transparent, and transferable using a mix of synchronous and asynchronous communication.

What is Synchronous Communication?

Synchronous communication, often referred to as real-time communication, happens when you’re in a meeting or just generally interacting with people in a live setting. This type of communication unfolds in the present moment, making it ideal for quick decision-making and instant feedback.

Examples of Synchronous Communication

  • Video Conferencing: Platforms like Zoom and Google Meet enable face-to-face discussions, no matter where participants are located. Keep in mind these formats can be recorded and then repurposed into on demand videos using tools like Claap.
  • Phone Calls: Whether through traditional voice calls or VoIP services, synchronous communication facilitates instant conversations.
  • Instant Messaging: Apps like Slack or WhatsApp enable real-time text-based conversations, bridging the gap between team members.

What is Asynchronous Communication?

On the flip side, asynchronous communication takes place without the need for immediate responses. Instead of real-time interaction, messages and content are exchanged and readily available to be viewed numerous times.

This style of communication accommodates flexibility, allowing individuals to respond when it suits their schedule.

Examples of Asynchronous Communication

  • Email: Sending emails and waiting for responses is a classic example of asynchronous communication.
  • Project Management Tools: Platforms like Trello and Asana enable team members to leave comments and updates that others can review at their leisure.
  • Document Sharing: Collaborative tools like Google Docs and Dropbox allow for asynchronous editing and feedback.
  • Video sharing: Recording quick and highly contextual videos for your team to view anytime makes for the easiest way to digest more complicated information. Using tools like Claap allows you to record your screen and share collaborative videos that don’t disturb your team's flow.

The Main Differences between Async and Synchronous Communication

Understanding the key differences between these two communication styles is crucial for choosing the right approach in various situations.

  • Response Time: Synchronous communication demands immediate responses, while asynchronous communication allows participants to respond when convenient.
  • Flexibility: Async communication offers flexibility in scheduling, accommodating different time zones and work hours.
  • Depth of Interaction: Synchronous communication supports deeper real-time conversations, while asynchronous communication may involve more thoughtful, well-considered responses.
  • Documentation: Asynchronous communication often leaves a trail of trackable communication, making it easier to reference past conversations and decisions. Building a wiki using Claap and Notion is an easy way to track everything you’ve seen, said or heard and make it available for your team.
  • Meeting Format: Synchronous meetings typically involve video or voice calls, while asynchronous meetings can be conducted through recorded videos, text, or documents.

Why is Synchronous Communication Important?

Synchronous communication plays a crucial role in business for several reasons:

Quick Decision-Making: When immediate feedback is required, synchronous communication allows teams to make quick decisions and address urgent matters.

Relationship Building: Face-to-face interactions foster stronger connections and build trust among team members.

Clarity and Engagement: Synchronous meetings ensure everyone is on the same page and engaged in the discussion.

Problem Solving: Complex issues often benefit from real-time collaboration and brainstorming.

However, synchronous communication is not without its challenges. A recent study by Stanford University found that 67% of remote workers experience "Zoom fatigue" due to excessive video meetings. This highlights the need to strike a balance between synchronous and asynchronous communication.

Best Practices for Async and Synchronous Meetings

Asynchronous Meeting Best Practices

Set Clear Objectives: Clearly define the purpose of the asynchronous meeting to ensure participants understand the goals.

Provide Context: Offer context and background information to facilitate a deeper understanding of the discussion.

Use Claap: Utilize Claap, the intelligent video wiki, to record asynchronous meetings and create AI-generated summaries for easy reference.

Synchronous Meeting Best Practices

Agenda and Time Management: Share an agenda in advance and stick to allocated time slots to keep synchronous meetings focused.

Active Participation: Encourage all participants to actively engage and contribute to the discussion.

Claap Integration: Leverage Claap for synchronous meetings to record sessions, transcribe conversations, and generate summaries for future use. You can do it using the Chrome extension or desktop app.

5 Moments To Use Synchronous Communication

While asynchronous communication offers flexibility and efficiency, there are certain moments when synchronous communication is the best choice:

Crisis Management: During emergencies or crises, real-time communication is essential for swift decision-making.

Brainstorming Sessions: Collaborative brainstorming benefits from immediate feedback and idea exchange. Just make sure you record it so you don’t leave your best ideas behind. You can even integrate small but powerful brainstorms into your daily huddle meetings using our templates.

Client Presentations: Synchronous meetings are perfect for impressing clients with live presentations and Q&A sessions.

Training and Onboarding: When onboarding new team members or conducting training sessions, make sure to offer both options. Synchronous communication ensures real-time guidance. Whereas asynchronous communication gives newbies independence to take control of the learning process.

Team Building: Building team camaraderie is often more effective when participants can see and hear each other in real-time.

With all of these options, it’s crucial you include a meeting summary at the end. This allows anyone who isn’t present at the meeting to catch up quickly. Using Claap’s AI you can generate summaries of any meeting in seconds.

The Tools You Need to Master Async and Synchronous Communication

To excel in both asynchronous and synchronous communication, you need the right tools at your disposal. Something to bridge the gap between these communication styles is Claap.

Claap is an intelligent video wiki designed to enhance the way businesses communicate and collaborate. Here's how Claap can benefit your organization:

  • Async Videos: Claap allows you to record videos and share them asynchronously, ensuring your team can access critical information at their convenience.
  • Powerful Meeting Recordings: With Claap, you can record synchronous meetings, capturing every detail for future reference.
  • Transcripts: Claap provides automatic transcription services, turning spoken words into written text for easy search and reference.
  • AI Summaries: Utilize Claap's AI-powered summarization feature to condense lengthy meetings into actionable insights.

By embracing Claap, you can strike the perfect balance between asynchronous and synchronous communication, leading to improved productivity, collaboration, and overall efficiency in your organization.

Whether you're collaborating in real-time or asynchronously, remember that effective communication is the key to success in the digital age.

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