If your business is thinking about making the switch to remote work, you’re not alone. Distributed teams are becoming increasingly common, thanks to the many benefits they offer. But before you make the move, it’s important to be aware of the potential pitfalls – especially when it comes to communication.
When you can’t just walk over to a coworker’s desk to ask them a question, things can easily get lost in translation. Misinterpreted emails, tasks that fall through the cracks, and general confusion are just some of the potential problems with remote communication.
To make sure your business doesn’t run into these issues, it’s important to choose the right tools for communication.
What Are Communication Tools And How Does It Work In A Business?
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Communication systems are simply any software or hardware that facilitates communication between people. This can include anything from email and video conferencing to chat apps and project management tools.
In a business context, communication tools allow coworkers to easily share ideas, collaborate on projects, and communicate with customers.
The right tools will make it easy for your team to stay connected, no matter where they are in the world.
The Pitfall of Bad Communication Tool
The biggest pitfall of bad communication tools is that they can lead to misunderstandings and miscommunication. When you can’t see or talk to your coworkers in person, it’s easy for important details to get lost in translation. This can cause delays on projects, missed deadlines, and even customer service disasters.
The best way to avoid these pitfalls is to choose the right communication tools for your team. Make sure the tools you use are easy to use and allow for clear communication.
What To Look For in Communication Tools
When you’re looking for a communication tool, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure the tool is easy to use. If your team has to spend time learning how to use the tool, they won’t have time to actually communicate.
Second, make sure the tool allows for clear communication. This means that everyone on your team should be able to easily see and understand what others are saying. Tools like chatbots can be helpful here, as they allow all participants to see the chat history.
Third, security should be given top importance. Make sure the tool you choose has comprehensive security features so that your data remains safe. This is doubly important if your company handles sensitive information, such as finance, education, healthcare, insurance, and high technology.
Finally, make sure the tool fits with your workflow. If you already have a system in place that works well for you, find a tool that integrates with it. That way, you won’t have to switch up your entire process.
Best Communication Tools For Small Businesses
Now that we know what to look for, here are ten of the best communication tools for small businesses:
Slack – Good for cross-team collaboration
Slack is a well-known collaboration solution. Salesforce made an excellent acquisition when it bought Slack. You may set up different channels for various subjects using Slack, making it easy to follow discussions. Using the Slack app on their phone, they can easily keep up with the discussion if someone is away from the office.
Key Features of Slack:
- Managing and tracking documents
- Advanced search modifiers
- Using shared channels across workspaces
- Streamlining your sidebar
- Lightning-quick navigation
- Setting reminders
- Subscribing to RSS feeds
Microsoft Teams – Good for a small team
Microsoft Teams is a fairly new addition to the Microsoft Office 365 suite. It was created as a direct competitor to Slack and offers many of the same features. You can create channels, invite team members, and share documents.
Key Features of Microsoft Teams:
- Teams and channels
- Conversations within channels and teams
- A chat function
- Document storage in SharePoint
- Online video calling and screen sharing
- Online meetings
- Audio conferencing
- Full telephony
Google Meet – Good for teamwork
Google Meet is a great video conferencing tool that is easy to use and has all the features you need for teamwork. You can share your screen, have a group chat, and even record the meeting.
Key Features of Google Meet:
- Unlimited number of meetings
- Live captioning during meetings
- Compatible across devices
- Video and audio preview screen
- Adjustable layouts and screen settings
- Controls for meeting hosts
- Screen sharing with participants
- Messaging with participants
Zoom – Good for one on one meetings
Zoom is another great video conferencing tool that is perfect for one on one meetings or small groups. You can easily invite people to join your meeting, and it also has a recording feature.
Key Features of Zoom:
- Invite people to join meetings easily
- Record meetings
- Waiting room
- Start meeting by inviting contacts
- Auto start/end scheduled meetings
- Meeting history with meeting ID
Webex – Good for hybrid workplace
Webex is a great tool for the hybrid workplace. If your team includes employees who are both remote and in the office, Webex can help bridge the gap. It also integrates with other tools like Salesforce and Microsoft Teams.
Key Features of Webex:
- Real-time translation for more than 100 languages
- Post-meeting summary notification
- Shape recognition in whiteboards
- Layout selection on Webex Board
- Change in-meeting roles from your device
- Gesture recognition
- Breakout sessions
- In-meeting media quality on Android and iOS
Discord – Good for gaming and team communication
Discord is a great tool for gamers, but it can also be used for team communication. It’s very user-friendly and has a lot of features that make it perfect for collaboration.
Key Features of Discord:
- Voice and video messaging
- Server and client voice chat
- Text chat channels
- Organize chats with folders and tags
- Integrated search function
- Push notifications on mobile devices
RingCentral – Good for businesses of all sizes
RingCentral is a great choice for businesses of all sizes. It provides businesses with different options for phone service, video conferencing, and team collaboration.
Key Features of RingCentral:
- Unlimited local and long-distance calling in the U.S. and Canada
- 800 number vanity numbers available
- Online meetings with up to 100 participants
- Integrated chat, file sharing, and screen sharing
- Available on desktop and mobile devices
BlueJeans – Good for small businesses
BlueJeans is ideal for small businesses. BlueJeans Meetings transforms your video conferencing experience by combining the industry’s finest high-fidelity audio and video performance with useful productivity tools and a comprehensive security toolkit to give you a unique competitive advantage every time you join a virtual meeting.
- Key Features of BlueJeans:
- Unlimited video meetings with up to 25 participants
- HD video and audio quality
- Screen sharing and collaboration tools
- Chat capabilities
- Integrated with popular applications like Salesforce and Google Docs
GoToMeeting – Good for one-time meetings with clients
If you only need to have a one-time meeting with a client, GoToMeeting is a good option. It’s simple to use and has great video quality. You can also record your meetings so you can revisit them later.
Key Features of GoToMeeting:
- It allows users to have full control over the equipment of a participant
- You can share documents in real-time
- All you need is a data connection to have a meeting
- It permits large meetings
- You don’t need to attend to experience the meeting
- Integrated chat for real-time collaboration
- Screen sharing and annotation tools
- Recording capabilities for on-demand viewing
AnyMeeting – Good for video conferencing with the team
AnyMeeting is a great option for one-time meetings and for recurring webinars. The platform has all the features you need to host an online meeting, including video conferencing, screen sharing, and chat. You can also record your meetings so you can revisit them later.
Key Features of AnyMeeting:
- Web Participants
- HD Video Participants (720p)
- Phone Conference Bridge
- Unlimited & Recurring Meetings
- Instant & Scheduled Calls
- Custom Meeting URL
- VoIP/PTSN Audio
- Join or Host From Mobile
Before you select a communication tool for your team, be sure to test it out yourself. Make a list of the features you need and see which tools offer those features. And, most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask your team members for their input. They might have a suggestion that you never would have thought of.
Now that we’ve covered some of the top communication tools for small businesses, it’s time to get back to work!