Slack’s Rise and Why They Added Voice Communications to It

There is no doubt that Slack is a great platform, but this “messaging app for teams” recently introduced voice communication features, underlining a reverse trend towards more voice communication. After all, when you need to make tough decisions, avoid miscommunication and deliver information quickly, voice wins every time. Despite the multitude of communication options out there, sometimes there’s nothing better than picking up the phone.

Why Voice Communication Is Sometimes Necessary

Slack is just one example of text-based software that is moving towards more voice communication. Businesses love using Slack for setting up team channels and sending asynchronous messages during the day, but the recent voice feature addition is part of the realization that nothing can truly replace voice communication.

In sales and business, there are so many elements of speech that convey meaning, which is why text often falls short. In fact, a famous study once found that the tone of your voice accounts for 38 percent of communication. This is one of the major problems with text and e-mails. The actual meaning of your words is often open to interpretation, which can very quickly lead to misunderstandings. When you really want to understand the feelings and emotions underpinning words, using the phone can make a huge difference.

Voice Communications Are Still Important When Decisions Need to be Reached

There’s no doubt that text-based and other asynchronous communications are great productivity enhancers, but they tend to prolong debate. When a major decision or agreement needs to be reached in a business context, team members often want their voice heard. Speaking over the phone often serves as an “accelerator” to move a project away from conception and towards actual implementation.

The problem is that when multiple parties are responding to different e-mails or chat messages, and reading through large blocks of text, it often means decisions can sometimes take days. With text, it’s easy to become disengaged or lose track of important points. Voice communication has the ability to cut to the heart of the subject, allowing your team members to quickly address their point and allow for quick follow-up questions.

Synchronous communication is especially important when decisions require consensus to move forward. It allows all stakeholders to make a decision at the same time and clearly articulate the reasoning behind their decisions.

That’s why when it comes time for your team to make the decisions that have a big impact on your business, it’s the ideal time to pick up a phone and actually speak to one another. It’s the same reason you probably want to talk to a customer representative over the phone to quickly resolve an issue rather than using customer support e-mail services.

Voice Is Essential for Relationships, Team Building and Conflict Resolution

There’s of course the emotional and team-bonding advantages offered through voice communication as compared to impersonal text-based communication. There’s something about hearing a human voice that can go a long way towards instilling trust and camaraderie. Often, in high-pressure situations, this kind of connection is the difference between success and a complete blow-up, especially if certain team members are known not to handle stress very well.

Considering the fact that in-person meetings are sometimes impractical or even impossible, phone communication is often the best way to work out team issues and conflicts as quickly as possible.

Ultimately, voice communication may have declined relative to other forms of communication, but innovation is pushing it back to the front of the pack. In a world of technological advancements, the phone still plays a vital role in effective communication. The goal is to get your team using it to increase productivity and accelerate the decision-making process.

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