How to Utilize Instant Messaging in Business
Instant messaging is a technology that has picked up substantially in the business world, and for good reason. While email allows for more passive communication, instant messaging allows for more instantaneous communication, similar to a phone call in its urgency. But are you using instant messaging to enhance your work life?
Establish a Usage Policy
Your company should have a policy in place that governs how your employees use it. This means that you must establish clear guidelines for appropriate use of instant messaging. For example, having a group chat for a department is perfectly fine, but having a group that is exclusively for sharing distractions is a problem that can lead to too much wasted time.
Keep It Professional
You should always use greetings when sending instant messages, similar to the way you would if you were using emails. Using a salutation such as “Hi Name,” rather than opening the conversation with a question can make a world of difference. You should also try to use similar professional language in your IMs as you would in an email.
Keep It Short and Sweet
As we previously mentioned, the big difference between the IM and email is that IMs are designed for instantaneous responses and quick conversations rather than long, drawn-out, detailed messages. The best way to use IMs inside your business is to use this strategy. If you expect someone to respond to a long IM that requires a detailed and analytic response, you might be asking too much. Besides, it may seem like the user is ignoring the message until they can find time to respond to it in the way that you expect.
Still, you’ll want to make sure that you are conveying thoughts and ideas clearly, but instant messaging is a great place to encourage questions to prevent communication gaps. You can really do a lot with many of today’s instant messaging apps, so writing long, drawn-out messages is just counterproductive most of the time.
Respect the Status Message
Most instant messaging applications allow the user to set their status. This might be something like Available, Away, In a Meeting, Busy, etc. If the user has a status message up, typically they are unavailable. If this is the case, you should reconsider sending the message until the user is indeed available to take your message. Otherwise, there is a solid chance that the message will slip through the cracks.
Don’t Solely Rely on IM
Obviously, an instant message is not a substitution for a good old face-to-face conversation; it’s just a good option to relay quick messages and communicate when you need to talk to someone who isn’t in the same place as you. Much of communication is non-verbal, so having face-to-face interaction helps you avoid instances of messages being taken out of context as well as establishes that you can make time in your busy day to make connections in this way.
White Mountain IT Services can help you implement the best instant messaging platform that suits your company’s needs. To learn more, reach out to us at 603-889-0800.