Asynchronous communication is not a new thing by any means — the concept goes back to papyrus notes and writing on the wall. But these days asynchronous communication is quickly becoming a life-saving tool for digital-savvy teams that are tired of useless and long-winded meetings.
When properly used, asynchronous communication mediums ensure that your message finds its recipient at the best possible time.
In this article, we’ll share 7 examples of asynchronous communication and how to use each one of them to take your team communication to the next level.
What Is Asynchronous Communication and Why It’s So Good
Asynchronous communication is a type of communication between any number of people that does not happen in real-time. Participants can receive and send asynchronous messages or data without immediate response expected. Examples include emails, forum comments, and messengers.
Other examples of asynchronous communication are corporate intranet, project management software that supports comments, and pre-recorded videos.
For comparison, examples of synchronous communication are conference calls, online meetings, direct phone calls, video meetings, and on-site communication.
Compared to real-time interactions such as conference calls or phone calls, asynchronous communication offers these unique benefits:
- Fewer interruptions and improved focus for teams. Team members can respond to asynchronous messages when it’s most comfortable for them without being distracted from their immediate tasks.
- High-quality insights and advice. When employees have time to think about a response, they are able to deliver thoughtful responses instead of immediate and reactionary ones.
- Employees have more control over their day. The freedom of asynchronous communication allows people to block a time during their workday to respond to all messages rather than having to do so continuously throughout the day.
- Creates a team knowledge database. In contrast to in-person discussions, whatever is communicated asynchronously is immediately documented and can be referred to indefinitely.
- Effective communication for distributed and remote teams. Using asynchronous communication, teams from around the world can collaborate on projects without having everyone attend the same conference call. Additionally, employers can find and hire talent almost anywhere.
Listed below, you’ll find seven examples of asynchronous communication with unique tips to ensure you get the most out of each one.
Ready-to-Use Examples of Asynchronous Communication at Work
Below are seven examples of asynchronous communication with tips to take your team communication to the next level.
#1. Asynchronous Standups in Slack (and MS Teams)
Slack is capable of both real-time communication and asynchronous communication, but inexperienced teams can find it hard to balance both. Due to Slack’s addictive format of messaging, teams in Slack easily lean into unproductive and chaotic messaging which affects your entire team’s productivity.
If you discover that your team is spending too much time in Slack teams or hosting too many useless meetings, it’s time to make the switch to asynchronous messaging. That’s where asynchronous standups in Slack come in handy.
Asynchronous Standups in Slack let your team run meetings as effective as it gets:
- Every team member receives a series of questions about their work progress and roadblocks
- Team members answer questions at the most comfortable time without the pressure of immediate response
- Team responses are gathered in one place for teams to analyze them or track progress.
One of the easiest ways to organize asynchronous standups in Slack is Geekbot. Here’s how Geekbot lets you run an asynchronous standup directly in Slack and on autopilot and automatically store team responses in a designated channel:
*Note: We will soon release a Microsoft Teams integration (click here to get notified when it’s live). Again, whichever platform you prefer, Geekbot offers a free plan for smaller teams.
1. Open the Geekbot dashboard and select the “Daily Standup” template.
2. Choose who in your team will receive daily standup questions, when, and how often.
3. At the selected time, Geekbot will automatically ask team members the standard daily stand up questions and gather their responses in the designated Slack or MS Teams channel.
Feel free to add more questions, for example, add an ice breaker or a well-being question to gather more information about your team members.
Here are some of the other unique features Geekbot offers :
- Full customization: change what questions team members receive, who receives them, how often, and many other parameters.
- NLP-analysis of team responses at scale: access a real-time dashboard of how your team feels and its key performance characteristics such as happiness, engagement, and well-being.
- Find a perfect mix of questions for your team: Geekbot offers hundreds of templates and questions that you can use: onboarding new people, conducting monthly 1o1’s, boost team trust with icebreakers and team-building questions, and many others!
- Get rid of useless meetings. Conduct daily standups, retrospectives, custom surveys, and 1o1’s directly in Slack.
- And so much more!
Try Geekbot’s free 30-day trial with no limits and see how asynchronous standups can permanently boost your remote team productivity.
#2. Threads and forums
Forums are a great example of asynchronous communication. It’s no secret that forums at niche publications, Quora, and Reddit are hubs of high-quality knowledge, and for good reason.
Discussions on forums are often conducted around a particular subject, people take time to think through their replies, and often only genuinely interested people find time to leave their replies.
The Thread feature in Slack and Channels in Microsoft Teams serve the same function as forums for your company and can be used for the same benefits.
Here’s how to get the most out of Slack threads and MS Teams channels:
- Encourage your team to use threads. Slack threads organize specific messages into well-structured discussions. Looking for feedback on a file? Want to explain something someone else said? Threads are an excellent way to expand your discussions by starting a thread without interrupting others or clogging your main Slack channels.
- Use threads to unload channel communications: Ask yourself: How busy is this Slack channel currently? Is there an active discussion taking place? If your Slack channels are overloaded with chaotic messages, it’s a great time to introduce threads to your team.
- Use threads with automated notifications. Threads are especially effective when you set up automated notifications for incoming data: tweets that mention your company, support tickets, etc. Make sure to learn more about Slack bots and automation to take your team productivity to the next level.
The average office worker spends more than 20% of their workweek on email. Email is currently one of the most ubiquitous methods of asynchronous communication — everyone sends them, everyone receives them.
But dealing with emails efficiently requires a certain degree of skill, as it’s easy to waste hours and hours of time trying to declutter your inbox while new messages keep coming in.
How are the tips to get the most out of your work email communication:
- Don’t CC everyone. A common mistake is to include as many people in the message as possible “just in case”, even if the message isn’t addressed to them. Remember that other people still need to read your message and understand that they are not the main recipient, so choose your targets carefully.
- Utilize email rules and folders. A poorly organized inbox is unmanageable and quickly gets cluttered. Make the most of email rules and folders to reroute incoming messages into specific folders.
- Pay attention to your subject line. The subject line helps decide whether recipients will open your emails, since a bland subject line might lead recipients to believe the email itself is equally as bland and unimportant. In addition, the subject line must also be detailed enough to inform your audience about your message so they could act quickly.
- Use email proofreaders. Nothing undermines the quality of your messages as typos and grammar errors. Make use of built-in email proofreaders – Grammarly offers one that works directly in your web client.
- Block time for inbox zero. Allocate specific time to deal with all your emails at once. Responding to messages immediately impairs your productivity and makes you dependent on someone else’s agenda.
- Implement company-wide email writing guidelines. If you see faulty patterns such as “too many useless emails” or “too many people CC’d” emerging in your email correspondence, write email company guidelines and regularly review them with your team.
#4. Instant Messengers
Due to the popularity and abundance of instant messengers such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, it can be easy to begin using one for team communication. However, be careful in doing so.
Here’s how to make sure instant messengers work for your team and not against it:
- Don’t mix work and home accounts. Work and life balance is crucial, especially in remote work environments. If your employees are using the same accounts to communicate with the team and their families, they will be constantly distracted by both parties.
Another problem is that your team members will have a harder time switching off work, which might have a dramatic long-term impact on their productivity. Using messengers is only viable if you’re using corporate logins or phone numbers.
- Determine how you’re using messengers. It’s much easier to implement messengers in your corporate environment if you know exactly what they will be used for. Don’t resort to a generic “all-work” communication approach. Use messengers with specific teams, for specific tasks, and during specific discussions.
A messenger service without a strong commitment will quickly turn into another place where people slack off.
#5. Project Management Tools
Your favorite project management tool (think Asana, Trello, Wrike) is also a form of asynchronous communication. So all the benefits of asynchronous communication apply to these tools by default.
If you want to take your productivity to the next level, follow these tips:
- Learn your tools. Often there will be some advanced tricks you can learn about your favorite tool, if you look hard enough. Most tools have blogs that are updated with regular information about feature updates and interactive tutorials.
Did you know that in Asana you can add the same task to one project while displaying different details to each team based on the project? Enter cross-index tasks.
- Onboard new people in using your tools. Write up a knowledge database or short video tutorials showing new team members how YOUR teams use that tool and for what.
#6. Company Portals or Intranet
When your company is growing, the number of processes and workflows that your team follows grows proportionally. Over time teams create Notion dashboards, company wikis, and entire intranets. Regularly updated, these portals act as a form of asynchronous communication between company and its team members.
Here’s how to use company portals for the best results:
- Motivated employees to share their ideas. One of the major reasons why business portals can be effective is due to the potential for sharing and creating benchmarked ideas and solutions.
It’s common for employees to be timid when it comes to sharing ideas, regardless of the platform. Escaping these issues and allowing employees to express themselves is crucial to creating a successful intranet.
- Take it slow. Many managers become so enthusiastic about the potential of business intranets, they demand too much from their employees right from the start.
Overloading employees with information and tasks can lead to burnout, so make sure you don’t force employees into using something that they are not familiar with.
- Focus on your company objectives. It’s easy to store all kinds of data in your business portals and wikis, but without proper moderation your data hub quickly becomes obsolete.
Align your data hubs and portal sections with your business goals and workflows. For example, share marketing blueprints with successful tactics your marketing team used in the past or onboarding information with tools and code guidelines for new developers.
Comments are a great example of asynchronous communication, especially when they’re right next to the object being discussed. Team members can express their views in the context of a specific issue or idea, which boosts their focus and creativity.
Here’s how to utilize the full power of comments in your workplace:
- Check if the tools you use have comments and promote commenting. Did you know you can now add comments right inside Dropbox files or comment on Figma prototypes? Comments on Google docs, Asana tasks, and InVision prototypes are a great way for focused team discussions.
Make sure you utilize commenting as often as possible and promote commenting among your team members.
- Utilize screenshot comments. Screenshots are areat way to discuss something and support your discussion with a visual context. You can use the Symo app to take a screenshot and generate the URL you can share with others. Anyone with the URL can comment on and provide feedback about the changes.
- Comment on prototypes. Any modern prototyping tool such as InVison or Figma has a built-in commenting feature and use for creating high and low-fidelity prototypes of products.
But the thing is you don’t even have to have a product to utilize this medium. Any idea can have a visual prototype, whether it’s a new marketing strategy or a customer persona. Turn your ideas into prototypes and discuss them with your team using comments!
Communication is changing. With more and more people using instant messaging, remote work tools, and email, the question of how to facilitate effective asynchronous communication becomes increasingly important in the modern workplace.
An efficient team knows when to use both synchronous and asynchronous communication tools and how to balance them without relying on either too hard. We hope these examples of asynchronous communication will help you analyze in detail how your team communicates and utilize the best-performing channels for your company.
If you want to make the best out of asynchronous communication, check out Geekbot.
With Geekbot, you can…
- Automate asynchronous standup meetings
- See visuals that highlight progress and blockers
- Access insights for analysis and decision-making
- Review analytics on discussion topics, team happiness, and more
- Track engagement and mental well-being via AI-driven language analysis
- Reduce reporting overhead with weekly response summaries
- Hold yourself accountable with your own Geekbot to-do list
Try our 30-day trial with no limits to conduct asynchronous daily stand-ups directly in your Slack and MS Teams, regularly track your team’s well-being and progress, and create a focused and trustful work environment!
Frequently asked questions
What is Asynchronous Communication?
The asynchronous communication methodology describes every form of communication that isn't carried out in real-time. For example, a phone call or a Zoom conference happen in real-time and serve as examples of synchronous communication. Emails and messengers, on the other hand, are not necessarily happening in real-time, which makes them asynchronous communication examples.
Which One is Better: Synchronous or Asynchronous Communication?
One form of communication is not inherently better than the other: both synchronous and asynchronous communication have their advantages and disadvantages. Synchronous communication is rich and timely because it occurs in real-time, however, it is usually filled with lots of unimportant information. Asynchronous communication is slower as it depends on when the recipient decides to read your message. But it’s concise, easy to record, and easy to moderate.
What Are Some Examples of Asynchronous Communication?
Examples of asynchronous communication include forums, email correspondence, asynchronous standups in Slack and MS Teams, comments, and messengers. Even project management software can be treated as an example of asynchronous communication as it usually allows team members to communicate on tasks and projects directly with the tool via comments and task descriptions.