Business communication has changed a lot over the years. One form of communication that has forever altered the way that people communicate is text messaging. In today’s video, I sit down with Steve (and Steve) to talk about how business communication has changed thanks to technology tools.
Don’t Call Me! Watch the Video:
How I Got out of Support, and Got Back in Touch
In the video, I start with a personal anecdote about how, as Protected Trust grew, I began to feel more and more out of touch with what was going on with everything:
“As our business grew, and we got more people working for us, I felt a lot more out of touch with what some of the corners of what was going on in the office. Like support. Support was one of the first things that I got out of… Like, I knew every support issue and every client—every problem. And, like, it felt really good. But then it became overwhelming and also, I got no sleep.”
Basically, I was so busy trying to be the expert on the support function for all of Protected Trust’s clients that I wasn’t able to keep up with the important things going on in the rest of the company. So, I got out of support. I brought on more team members to handle the support side of things so I could delegate busy work. And, by getting out of the weeds, I was able to be more in touch with what everyone in my company was doing.
Modern communication tools helped with that a lot. How?
“More recently, I would say [that] with the tools we have, it’s made me feel back in touch with things that were going on because you guys have a channel [in Teams]. And, you guys were talking about support issues that were going on and I am a voyeur in that channel. I’m not like day-to-day on everything going on, but I sit there and listen and look at things.”
Communication channels in collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams make it a lot easier for me (and others) to catch up on what’s going on.
For example, there was a time where I had promised to go to a theme park with the kids, but I also really needed to be available for the team to talk to so I could help with important decisions and provide feedback on projects. Thanks to having the Teams app on my phone, I was able to stay connected with the office to the point where some of my employees didn’t realize that I was in Orlando at a theme park watching the whales pop out of the water.
Following my anecdote in the video, Steve jumps in with this:
“Teams is awesome on a mobile device… at least for my role, because I definitely need this thing [my laptop] in most cases. But, in a ramped-down environment, I can still be plugged in with this [my phone] and still get 60 to 70 percent of the same productivity… We were here before Teams, so we know what it’s like to not have it.”
Replacing Phone Calls with Text Messaging
Of course, Teams is far from the first means of communicating with others remotely via text. Text messaging has been around for decades (Fun fact: according to an old article on Mashable: “The first text message was sent in 1992 from Neil Papworth”). Later, phones started being made with the ability to text in mind—I don’t know if some of the younger readers here will remember it, but the Blackberry phone used to be really popular because it had a full keyboard for typing messages.
Smartphone texting apps added more and more features to texting, such as the ability to create group messages, share photos, etc. These features helped to inform the design of apps like Microsoft Teams.
Steve Goodman made clear how much he prefers texting to talking when he said: “I want business cards printed up that list my phone number on it. But, with a thing in parentheses saying (NEVER CALL THIS NUMBER). Because, I do not like phone calls.” When asked if he preferred text messages to phone calls, Mr. Goodman replied with: “Absolutely.”
There are a few advantages to using text-based communication instead of a phone call to communicate with your team. One of the most obvious ones that I can think of is the fact that it puts everything in writing where you can easily find it. Think about it: How many times have you had a conversation with someone over the phone, been told something, and had to call back because you forgot it when you got distracted or because there was so much going on in that call?
By putting that information into a text log via a message, it becomes so much easier to double-check the information you were given. Instead of having to bug the other person for a reminder, you can just re-read the message.
While texting didn’t replace phone calls overnight (there were a few more transitions between calling people and texting becoming the “it” thing), nor did people stop calling each other entirely, it has greatly influenced the way that people communicate, especially in the business world.
Do you prefer texts and Teams messages to phone calls? Or, do you have questions about how to communicate with Teams? Reach out to us and let us know, or watch the video above for the whole conversation.