Real-Time or Asynchronous… Which Communication Tool Should You Use and When?

When it comes to selecting communications tools, your options can be categorized as either real-time (synchronous) or asynchronous, and deciding on the best option is based on your business objectives.

Synchronous Communication Options

When it comes to real-time interaction between two or more people, synchronous communication tools are the best choice. The options are:

  • Face-to-face meetings, problematic under today’s social distancing mandates, are nevertheless useful when the communication is important, requires buy-in from participants, and when non-verbal signals are key to understanding the emotions of the other person.
  • Video calls are useful when face-to-face meetings are not possible, but collaboration, cooperation or discussion is needed and documents must be viewed and/or shared among a group of two or more people.
  • Voice calls are effective when clarity is needed and some degree of cooperation, collaboration or discussion is essential for reaching a decision in a timely manner.

Asynchronous Communication Options

When real-time interaction is not required between two or more people and information can be shared without requiring immediate responses, the options include:

  • IM, which enables short messages to be sent with key information that is not urgent, and to recipients whose unified communications presence indicators show that they are unavailable.
  • SMS/MMS, which is similar to IM but designed specifically for delivery to mobile devices where messages tend to interrupt the recipient, even if the unified communication application is closed.
  • Email, which is useful for the one-way distribution of report style communication, documentation or other forms of information that cannot be shared with IM or SMS/MMS.
  • Team collaboration tools support projects that last for an extended period of time among a group of people because it incorporates multiple forms of communication, like IM, voice and video, but also enables files and task sharing, and an archive of activity.

Make sure your team has all the communication tools it needs to support your business objectives. Contact CTS today at 800.787.4848 or


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