Streamlining Communication

Any organization has multiple communication channels besides the traditional email and phone-there is MS Teams, Google Meet, Zoom, Slack and so on (let’s call it IM channels). While the intent is to boost collaboration for greater efficiency, the parallel presence of multiple IM channels only proves to be counterproductive-people do not know who uses what channel. One using Zoom may find the other offline and may delay the communication under the impression that the receiver may be “Out of Office” while in reality the receiver is available just fine-only over Teams. Or say another person is composing an email with proper subject lines and signature all for asking if it is a good time for a quick connect. Or yet still two persons communicate over Zoom, share the files over Teams and follow-up over email-all for the sake of communicating efficiently 😂. To avoid such a communication fiasco, streamlining the communication channels should take priority. This streamlining can start off with categorization of communication channels based on the intent of the message:

1. For URGENT matters, reach out over phone

2. For FILE SHARING, utilize an IM Channel for maintaining a consolidated repository

3. For RECORDING OF APPROVALS/SENSITIVE INFORMATION, use email. And share the entire thread (post its closure) over the IM Channel (helpful if Outlook is utilized).

For all other needs of communication, it is better to stick to an IM Channel for quicker accessibility.

Coming to the IM channels in particular, it will always benefit you if you stick to just one channel in particular. And it is equally important to let others know the channel you are available on. To do this, the following steps can be adopted:

1. Put a status message in the other IM channels mentioning your platform of preference. E.g. If you use only MS Teams, you can put up a status message in Zoom like “Available only on MS Teams”, “Please connect with me on MS Teams” etc.

2. Leverage email signatures to specify your availability on various channels:

Connect with me on:
(a) MS Teams
(b) Phone (Between 9 AM to 5 PM on weekdays for urgent tasks only)

Using various email auto-responders in conjunctiokn to the abovr email signature will help you regain a lot of control over your time.

3. Shifting unnecessary email threads to IM Channels through replies. E.g. Say a colleague initiates a thread which may require lots of file exchange, to-n-fro communications etc. A reply in the following way can help you in shifting the entire communication thread to an IM Channel:

Dear Sender,

To maintain a streamlined channel of communication, moving this mail thread over to the Teams Channel titled “Project ABC”.

See you on Teams!

Your Name

I hope these steps help you streamline your communication with your colleagues, boost your overall productivity while ensuring you do not miss out on any relevant information.

Thank you for your time.

See you tomorrow!!!


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