Email not always best for business

I AM not too young to remember the days when the fax and phone ruled communication in the workplace.

When email arrived, we all rejoiced. But, interestingly, email has gone from our saving grace in business communications to our biggest bugbear, with many people hard pressed to stay on top of an overflowing inbox. This is just one area I can see being revolutionised by the rollout of the National Broadband Network.

While many alternative forms of communication such as VoIP (voice over internet protocol), Skype, live chat, video conferencing and social networks already exist, to date these have not really become mainstream business communication tools. With the arrival of the NBN, their potential becomes much more of a reality.

Using Skype's text chat function for basic internal queries such as 'where is the file for ABC client kept?', forwarding contact details or transferring a file to work on is a much better solution than an email complete with a superfluous subject header and signature. The communication is still date stamped, the sender identifiable and files can most certainly be attached.

Microblogging networks (such as Twitter), blogging, and use of other social networking applications increases people's ability to communicate with a multitude, discuss issues virtually, think critically about issues informed by many perspectives, and provide alternatives to make decisions.

When it comes to collaborating on documents, email is really ineffective. Much better solutions include Google Docs where you can create spread sheets, documents (as per Microsoft Word), presentations and more, and share them with relevant staff members. Collaborators can see when others are working on the live document (a great reference for meetings) and/or share the document once updated, ensuring effective version control.

Topics:  business communication, email, opinion, small business, yvette adams



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