In an era as increasingly modernized as the one we live in today, digital technology has become so interwoven within a variety of our everyday activities. Communication, in particular, is shifting from being conducted on a face to face basis into the realm of video calls and text messaging. Nowadays, this shift has become the “new normal” of communication, bolstered by the impact of avoiding physical contact in regards to Covid-19 prevention.
Almost every non-essential job requires some form of WFH measure, resulting in the exponential increase of online meetings through video calls, making the main apps supporting this boom in technology, such as Zoom and Google Meet, significantly more widespread in daily life. However, this phenomenon has underscored the notion that not all meetings require the use of video and voice chat. A lot of meetings are now done through text messaging for the sake of efficiency, using apps such as Whatsapp, Slack, Facebook Messenger, etc. Chat based meetings are less time consuming; ones doesn’t need to have constant focus during the meeting, thereby allowing the gathering to take place while all other parties can focus on other tasks at the same time. However, it is important to note that a text message based meeting is rarely the most efficient mode of conveying one’s point.
Here we will look into several tips for having efficient chat meetings/conversations through messaging tools.
- First Rule: Never Use All Caps
The use of caps lock can be taken as a sign of anger, because it sounds as if the person writing is shouting at you. Psychologically, it is also difficult to read in all caps and it’s always easier to read lowercase text. In all situations, make sure that your caps lock button is turned off before typing your message.
- Keep Your Message Short
The main key with regards to contributing to an efficient chat meeting is to keep your messages short and clear. You can skip the small talk if necessary. Get straight to the point, and you will save both you and your coworker’s time so as to move on to more important issues.
- Type Quickly, They’re Waiting!
Almost every messaging app comes with the typing notification, otherwise known as a ‘typing indicator,’ so as to notify the recipient when the sender is in the middle of composing their message. Such notifications can be distracting for some people, and sometimes they will wait when the typing indicator is active until the message is sent to them. This can be a waste of time, especially during chat meetings in which many of your coworkers are involved. The ability to type quickly will save everyone a lot of time.
- Be Direct
Naturally, people will be curious if the “typing…” notification is in reference to them, so it is always a good practice to mention the person you are referring to in the chat meetings first, send your message, and then type your intended instructions. For example, instead of typing,
“I need all the data regarding our previous projects” – enter/send text
“Can you please check on the report and get the data for me @ Mr. A?” – enter/send text
Try sending the message in this order:
“To @ Mr. A” – enter/send text
“I need all data regarding our previous projects. Can you please check on the report and get the data for me?” enter/send text.
This way, only the mentioned individual will be the focus of the proceeding conversation. So everyone else won’t need to wait for any clarifying messages, as they know there is no need to respond. Or, if they do have something to contribute, it will be within the context of person A & B’s conversation.
Another important habit is to be direct with your intentions. It is not recommended to send someone a text along the lines of, say: “Hello, good morning. Can I ask for your help?” and wait for them to respond.
Instead, abbreviate any niceties and get to the heart of the matter within the same message, such as: “Hello, Good morning, can I ask for your help in regards to X?” This way, people will instantly find out your intention and what needs to be done, which is much more efficient than finding out after three or four messages.
- One Thing at a Time
Always prepare what you want to say when engaging in a chat meeting, and remember to always discuss one thing at a time. Finish each topic first before going to the next one. This way, distractions and conversational tangents can be avoided. Another benefit is, after the meeting, you can then summarize the interaction into a FAQ that can be re-read again by your team members in an orderly format.
- Reply ASAP, Don’t Leave Them Hanging
Nothing is more annoying that being left dealing with a “cliffhanger” after getting no response to an urgent text. Especially while using messaging apps that don’t use typing indicators, which leaves the participant wondering if their message was even read in the first place. It is always polite to respond as fast as you can. A simple “I will get back to you later” will put everyone at ease. At least they know that you have read the message and will respond to them when you have the time.
- Turn On Your Ringtone Notification
Many users engage in chat meetings while doing other things at the same time, so focus can frequently lag. In order to keep track of everything, turn on your ringtone notification, especially during meetings. Just a simple “beep” ringtone or some other minimally pitched sound will be sufficient. Personalized ringtones are particularly useful. With personalized ringtones, each contact is given different sound. So, upon listening to a specific ringtone, you will know right away without turning to the screen who it’s from, and importantly, the level of priority to be assigned to it. In this regard, you can now specifically focus on the urgent messages that need immediate attention and response.
- Re-Read and Double Check Before Sending
Chat messages can be a trap if the app doesn’t have the “delete for all” or “undo” message features. Once you click on the send button, there will be no coming back from a poorly thought out text. So, before sending your message, always re-read your texts again and be sure to correct any instances of bad grammar. One trick is to always keep your mind on the screen while typing, so any mistakes can be easier to identify and correct.
Read Also: Working Remotely: An Employer’s Guide
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