One of the things that will make or break your team's effectiveness is communication.
We’ve all experienced it before... trying to arrange endless meetings with multiple people, sending lengthy emails that never get read, and feeling disconnected from our team members.
This is especially true in the current global pandemic. Many teams are being forced to work remotely, which presents challenges in staying connected, and working together seamlessly.
Scheduling online meetings can be time consuming and communication is never as smooth as we'd hope for. But relying on text communication (Slack, email etc.) means losing that human, face-to-face connection.
Luckily, there is a solution that can give you the best of both worlds...
Asynchronous Communication to the Rescue!
What is asynchronous communication?
Asynchronous communication is simply when you communicate with no expectation of an immediate response.
Many communication tools we use every day could be (and perhaps should be) used asynchronously: email and instant messaging apps like Slack being prime examples.
But in far too many teams, there are written or unwritten rules about how quickly people are expected to respond to messages. Maybe your boss starts nagging you if you don't reply to a Slack message within minutes. Or people halt their work when they send a question by email, because they expect an answer before they resume.
This makes communication stressful and disruptive.
Asynchronous communication is an agreement among the team that says: you can review and reply to this message in your own time. A quality response is valued over a quick one. And no one stops in their tracks, waiting for a reply.
Now, with the team I've been working in, we've found a way to combine the benefits of asynchronous with the benefits of live, face-to-face communication you usually only get in person or in meetings.
Loom is an online tool that allows you to record and send videos and screen recordings to anyone on your team. It's quick and convenient to record a video and Loom provides you with an instant link to share with your team.
Best of all, the basic features in Loom can be used completely for free.
There are 3 types of videos that you can record using Loom to Share with your team:
- Screen only
- Camera only
- Camera and Screen
4 Ways We Use Loom to Build a Better, More Productive Remote Team
At first glance, Loom seems like a fairly simple tool. However, there are actually countless ways you can use it in practice. Here are 4 of our favourite ways we use Loom to make our team's communication more effective.
1. Share & Discuss New Ideas
Bouncing ideas back and forth in a team is really difficult to do in a remote setting. On a group call, it's difficult to be as spontaneous as you can be in person, because there's lag in the communication. In written form, it's even worse: endless email threads or Slack discussions quickyl become overwhelming and difficult to stay on top of.
Loom is the perfect solution for this. Record a quick video with your new idea and send it to the team. Everyone can take their time to think about it and record a thoughtful video in response. By the end of the day, you've gotten more valuable feedback in less total watch-time than you could get out of any meeting.
Interesting factoid related to this: studies have shown that synchronous group brainstorming is less effective than if everyone on the team contributes ideas independently of each other. Double win for Loom!
2. "Braindumps" or Sharing Long Form Thoughts
If you have a longer thought, story, or idea you want to share, writing an e-mail or text message can be time consuming. Worse than that, when writing out ideas, many people use more formal and "stiff" language than if they were to simply tell you about their thoughts in person.
To share announcements, new strategies and other longer-form thoughts with the team, I've been using Loom almost exclusively, lately. It's easier for me to record a 5-minute video to get everyone up to speed, than write a text message containing the same information. And for the team, it's easier to watch a 5-minute video than work their way through a wall-of-text post.
3. Quick Instructions & Tutorials
A picture (or video) can truly be worth a thousand words.
In the team, we do a lot of video work. This involves intricate workflows across some fairly complex tools. If someone has a question about how to do a specific thing in a video editing tool like Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro, explaining it with a video message is orders of magnitude simpler than any other way I know of.
This is where Loom's screen + webcam recording really shines. You can easily fire up the Loom recorder and simply show the steps you take in the software. Then, the video can be viewed by anyone on the team and they can easily follow along.
4. Feedback & Peer Review
We have a strong culture of skill building in the team and a crucial component of that is feedback. Whever someone delivers a piece of work, we try to ensure that they get some constructive feedback that will help them do incrementally better on each piece they work on.
For this, we've also started using Loom videos. For example, if you give a presentation to the team, you'll get a Loom video from each team member, with a few minutes of feedback. This has a major advantage over in-person feedback in that you can refer back to it at any time, so you're not likely to forget key points.
This way of using Loom has been a game changer for our team. It's also worth noting that every team member was immediately on board with this.
I highly encourage that you give this a try within your team. I like it so much, I'd use this even if we weren't working remotely. Sometimes, asynchronous video communication really is the best form of communication.