Synchronous communication occurs when people talk or collaborate in real-time. This is different from asynchronous communication, which does not require the other person to respond live.
In a professional environment, it is common to collaborate asynchronously on some work and synchronously on other types of work. Examples of synchronous communication include:
Synchronous communication is considered a more traditional style of work collaboration. Asynchronous working may often be the more practical communication style for workers who collaborate with team members across different time zones.
There are many benefits and drawbacks to synchronous communication. One benefit is that it allows team members to problem solve and collaborate on urgent issues. Another advantage is that, when used to brainstorm, synchronous communication can lead to innovation sparked by live collaboration and the quick exchange of ideas.
Some of the challenges of synchronous communication include its incompatibility with distributed team environments. If one team member is closing out their day while another is just starting, it is impractical to expect them to communicate synchronously for large stretches of time.
Synchronous communication also leaves fewer opportunities to consider a response to a message or request deeply. Often, a request or task will require additional consideration or thought. However, expectations of synchronous communication may cause someone to respond quickly without considering critical factors.
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