Good evening, Asia! 🌃 Good afternoon, Europe! 🌇 Good morning, America! 🌅
One of the best parts of being a fully remote and distributed team is the ability to communicate
asynchronously. This type of communication helps increase trust, strengthens rapport, boost collaboration and allows us the time and space to produce our best work. These benefits are key for our team to live up to our values, so all MOSTLIES are invited to harness this skill.
Below you can find some tips and tools to help us foster asynchronous communication.
What is asynchronous communication
Asynchronous communication is when you send a message and you don't expect an
immediate response. In contrast, synchronous communication is when you send a message
and the person you're messaging reads your message and responds immediately.
Some examples of synchronous communication would be face-to-face and voice
communication, like meetings, phone calls and stopping by someone's desk. Whereas Slack,
Confluence and Gmail are tools you can use for asynchronous communication.
Synchronous communication is communication that happens in “real time” — two or more parties are exchanging information in the same moment with one another.
Video conferences or (e.g., via a tool like Zoom)
Synchronous learning environments such as online programs that use class time for group discussion
Asking the teammate across your desk a quick question
Water cooler conversations
Asynchronous communication is any type of communication that includes a lag between when the party imparting the information sends the message, and when the party receiving the message interprets it.
Project management tools (such as Trello)
Company wikis and workspaces (such as Confluence or Notion)
Text messaging via mobile devices
Video messaging (using tools like Loom)
You want to build rapport with people (e.g., in one-on-ones, team meetings or company retreats)
You need to provide critical feedback or discuss sensitive topics
You have a lot of unknowns and you want to brainstorm different ideas and solutions
There are a lot of moving variables and you want to bring everyone on the same page quickly, e.g., a project kickoff meeting
A crisis happens that requires immediate attention
You don’t require immediate feedback, and you want to respect your recipients’ time
You need to collaborate with someone in a different time zone who isn’t at their desk at the same time you are
You need to communicate a message to group of people who can’t all be in the same place at the same specific time, or whom it’s difficult or expensive to get together
You want to provide context before or after a real-time event
You need to explain a complex concept in a way that people can go back and reference later
You’re providing a response to a piece of asynchronous communication you received
You're coordinating an online course that allows learners to complete coursework on their own schedule
With video, the human touch that synchronous communication provides is still largely present — you can still convey additional meaning through gestures, tone of voice, facial expressions and other nonverbal communication. But you can also send video messages in your own time frame, and the recipient can consume it at their leisure. You can attach further context. You can share your screen, and talk through why you made certain decisions about your design, or financial model, or product roadmap.
Next time, before you send a slack message, you might consider to send a short video message instead.
Why communicate asynchronously?
It frees up time for you to do deep focus work
When you have control over your notifications, you can reduce distractions, create blocks of
uninterrupted time to focus on projects, make your schedule work for you, and set your own
It opens up space for you to think about your response
Giving you more time to be thoughtful and put your best foot forward.
It is a tool for documentation
Documentation leads to transparency which helps the best idea come from anywhere.
It neutralizes time zones and increases inclusion
You don't need to be in the same time zone or even the same space to participate in the
Here’s some helpful tips:
Turn off Unnecessary notifications
Instead of receiving notifications, set aside specific time blocks during the day for checking
and responding to messages.
Follow MOSTLY’s Slack etiquette, specially:
1. Thread your conversation and be mindful when using @individual, @here and @channel
When you @mention an individual, a team, you use @here or @channel, Slack sends out a notification. If people don't have notifications turned off or their sounds muted, this takes their attention away from
what they are working on.
Before doing this, ask yourself if what you are chatting about is something that is important
enough to take that person's attention away from what they are currently working on. If it
isn't, then we would recommend sharing that information, but not @mentioning them.
Also, make sure to thread your communication to keep topics organized.
2. Avoid private messages and use channels instead
Private messages discourage collaboration and are less efficient; you might be contacting the wrong person or someone else might have the same question as you. Private messages are also harder to manage, track, and search.
Whenever possible, use public channels to talk about anything that the team could find useful, as long as it is not sensitive information.
If someone sends you a private message, it's okay to let them know that you'd like to move
the conversation into a channel. You can say something like this, "Thanks for reaching out! I that's a really great question and the rest of the team could benefit from it too. At MOSTLY we try to avoid private messages in cases like this, so could you move this to #mostly-best_channel_for_this_topic, please?"
If you're thinking of a private group DM for 3 people or more, create a private channel
Get the most out of Confluence
Confluence is our remote-friendly team workspace where knowledge and collaboration meet.
Check our tips and guidelines for Confluence here.
Use email wisely
Mostly AI is not an email heavy company for internal communication.
The team’s main mean of communication is Slack. Let’s keep it this way! 🙌🏾
We use email for communication with external parties and for medium/large communication to the team.