Nowhere is advancement more prevalent in our current society than in the communication field.
The means of communication just 10 years ago are very different to what is happening today. As it turns out, these changes have also affected business communication. The ability to evolve and adapt is an important characteristic of forward-thinking companies and this encompasses communication as well.
To stay competitive, you need to evolve with and embrace the changing times. Keeping up with business communication trends will help you know what you need to be doing right now -- to be ready for the future.
So, what are some of the trends taking place today that are used to improve communication at work?
The adoption of social intranet software has been on the rise. This trend has been fuelled by engagement and enthusiasm. Today's intranet software features common social components -- like you would find on public-facing sites like Facebook and Twitter.
The many features of social intranet software will build more effective internal communications in your company. They also offer a more comfortable and convenient way to communicate -- everybody can contribute and share ideas while feeling like part of a community.
Successful organizations recognize that group work is central to their success. Traditional spaces have been replaced with collaborative online workspaces. They incorporate a social component to foster interaction and innovation. This move has been fuelled by the need to support good work processes, creativity, diversity of thought, and a sense of community.
Modern collaborative workspaces support small group interactions in less formal settings. Large spaces make small groups uncomfortable and limit effective internal communication. By going for small collaborative workspaces, employees can comfortably create and share content and have meaningful discussions.
Unified communication is the integration of real-time and near real-time communication systems. This includes the integration of chat services, phone, video conferencing, messaging, feedback and commenting systems, and others. Unified communications also provide a consistent user interface and experience across a range of devices and media types.
By bringing together voice and data, a unified communication system reduces infrastructure costs and contains more features for a more responsive experience. It makes everyone’s life simpler and enables management to quickly see when employees are available to chat.
While video conferencing has existed since the 1980s, a new business use case has begun to emerge. The traditional use case of video conferencing in the boardroom has been replaced with video-enabled phones and tablets that allow employees and management to call wherever, whenever.
Web-based video conferencing services have also made it easier for teams to meet in virtual rooms, which has greatly improved collaboration efforts. Most video conferencing solutions also come bundled with collaboration tools such as document sharing, text chat, and screen sharing.
One of the biggest business communication trends is the power of mobile devices. They have changed business for the better, similar to what the desktop computer did in the early 80s. Today’s smartphones are more powerful than computers were just a few years ago -- and this has created opportunities for businesses.
With mobile intranet software, it is no longer necessary for employees to be glued to their desks to get work done. They can log in via their smartphones or tablets, access company data, and update the rest of the team on their progress. With a bring-your-own-device program in place, you can establish better internal communication in the workplace. Employees can use their personal devices at work and be just as efficient. The real benefit here is that employees enjoy using their own devices -- and the company benefits by having easy reach to employees at all times.
The cloud movement continues to grow, and we are seeing more and more services going that way. Many companies providing cloud solutions have affordable services geared towards small businesses that cannot afford a fully-integrated system for running day-to-day activities.
Cloud-based services and apps are also accessible on mobile devices -- making it highly convenient when collaborating on projects and communicating with your team. With real-time editing capabilities and other advanced sharing options, many businesses are opting for cloud intranet software due to its flexibility.
The ability to move conversations and data from one platform to another is huge these days -- so much that you don't even think about. It is expected that all of your devices will contain all of your conversations.
This business communication trend is also seen in some bring-your-own-device initiatives. Some organizations encourage their employees to make their personal devices their work and life companions -- reducing friction between the two. As it turns out, company communication is greatly enhanced in the process.
Despite being an old innovation, chat services are still around, but they are getting a revamp. Chat services now accommodate a range of media types including video and video conferencing. These services have also been integrated into existing services enabling teams or employees to quickly bring each other to speed when necessary.
Social intranet software integrates chat with other business communication tools, and some organizations have dedicated intranet chat tools to keep in touch with various teams and departments. Chat is real-time while remaining unobtrusive, hence its attraction.
Video on the web is on the rise and continues to grow. As bandwidth speeds improve, more users are opting to view video, both within and beyond organizational firewalls. By supporting multimedia on your social intranet, you can benefit from improved employee engagement and better retention.
Video is being used to train staff, explain a process, and to disseminate vital company announcements from management. Since video is more engaging, it is more effective as an internal communication method, which is why more companies are following this trend.
Infographics and images are everywhere, and people respond better to visual information than plain text. With this realization, there has been an influx of online tools enabling businesses to create engaging visual imagery to communicate their messages more effectively.
Infographics are very effective in explaining a process to employees, and there are many tools and apps available that can help you design and create then for a low cost.
While some business communication trends may change with future technologies, these will most likely stick around for years to come. Keep an eye on the above 10 trends and business communication tools, stay competitive, and continue to evolve with the changing times.
Tim is president and co-founder of Axero Solutions, a leading intranet software vendor. He's also a bestselling author of Who the Hell Wants to Work for You? Mastering Employee Engagement. Tim’s been featured in Fortune, Forbes, TIME, Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur, CNBC, Today, and other leading publications.
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