Everyone knows the secret of success, both personally and business, is good communication. But in what way? If you are trying to communicate with a group in real time, you are sure to be familiar with the old way of waiting: conferences. You know: those overwhelming phone calls where the speakers overlap, the voice quality is terrible, half the people don’t pay attention, and someone’s dog barks intermittently during the call.
But what is the alternative? Consider an old (very old) standby mode: instant messaging. Unless anyone calls her that; now it’s group chat. These virtual meeting rooms focus on text-based communication and are often highly preferable to conference calls.
Why write when you can talk? A chat session makes it easy to «listen» to everyone, because you can instantly see who said what. (You don’t have to start each sentence by identifying yourself.) If someone is distracted at the moment, you can easily return to the conversation by reviewing previous comments. And, perhaps best of all, there is no static or background noise. In a group chat, no one knows you’re listening to your favorite playlist.
There are other benefits, such as the option to keep a permanent transcript of the search and each session. Most chat services also allow you to share or embed files in real time (instead of «Wait, I’ll email you the spreadsheet. Did you receive it? What do you say now?»). Many will allow you to enter breakout discussions if you need a quick individual discussion about what is happening in the group. (“Do you think Bob will need extra help with this project?”) And don’t forget the security benefits: voice conversations can be heard; Text-based chats can’t. (For this purpose, the vast majority of chat services offer highly encrypted sessions.)
Okay, but why not send text or loop to some co-workers through, say, iMessage? Sending text messages is too cumbersome for something longer than a quick exchange and too «tight» if you’re trying to communicate with more than a few people.
This does not mean that group discussions are ideal for all scenarios, simply that they are an option worth considering, especially if you find that your current methods of communication are missing. For this story, we looked at 10 group chat services: Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts Chat, Facebook Workplace, Zoho Cliq, Zulip, Telegram, CA Flowdock, ChatWork, and MangoApps Office Chat, which offers web-based snapshots and messaging applications. for two or more people, but with different interfaces, features and approaches.