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Comparing Synchronous vs Asynchronous Communication

If you’re in the business world, you’ve probably heard the terms synchronous and asynchronous communication. However, their meanings aren’t immediately obvious. You may be wondering what does synchronous communication and asynchronous communication mean? And how do synchronous and asynchronous communication differ from one another?

In this article, we will cover the definitions of synchronous and asynchronous communication and the differences between them. These definitions will be focused on what they mean for individual people and businesses. We will also compare synchronous vs asynchronous communication in terms of which communication style is best for what kind of situation. By the end of the article, you will better understand how to best communicate with co-workers, customers, and others in different situations. 

What Does Synchronous Mean?

businesswoman on a laptop having a video call

The meaning of synchronous is “existing or occurring at the same time”. So, synchronous communication is communication that happens simultaneously. Synchronous communication includes:

  • Face-to-face conversations
  • Video meetings
  • Phone calls

Basically, if you’re communicating with someone in real-time, then you’re communicating synchronously. With synchronous communication, you are actively listening to the other person and focusing on the conversation. Participants in the conversation reply to one another right away.

What Does Asynchronous Mean?

Asynchronous means “not existing or occurring at the same time”. So, asynchronous communication is communication that happens at different times with gaps in-between. Asynchronous communication includes:

  • Emails
  • Text conversations
  • Slack or other messenger chats
  • Letters
  • Blog or video post comments

Basically, if you’re communicating with someone and there is a time gap between replies, then you are communicating asynchronously. Or in other words, asynchronous communication is any communication that is not happening in real-time. With asynchronous communication, you can take the time to reply to each message and do something else to fill the time between messages. Asynchronous communication thus lets people communicate while also completing other tasks.

Woman hand typing on keyboard laptop

Synchronous vs Asynchronous Communication: What’s the Difference?

So, to sum up, the difference between synchronous and asynchronous communication is whether or not the communication is happening simultaneously. Synchronous communication includes all communication that happens in real-time, while asynchronous communication is any communication that does not happen in real-time with time gaps in between responses. If you’re talking with someone in real-time, you are participating in synchronous communication. If you’re messaging someone at a distance with time between replies, you are participating in asynchronous communication.

When to Use Synchronous vs Asynchronous Communication

Whether you use synchronous or asynchronous communication will depend on both the subject of the conversation and the communication methods available. 

There are many situations where synchronous communication is required, such as when you’re meeting someone in person or scheduled for a work meeting. Similarly, there are situations where asynchronous communication is required, like when someone is not in the same place and you do not have access to their phone number.

However, in other situations, you can decide whether to use synchronous or asynchronous communication.

two men at laptops sending messages to one another

When to Use Synchronous Communication

In terms of the business world, you should use synchronous communication when the topic of conversation is time-sensitive and needs immediate attention or feedback. If there is a serious problem that needs solving right away or a project that is due imminently, then you should meet with co-workers right away to solve the issue together. 

Likewise, if a customer has an immediate problem, then you should focus all of your attention on them and respond right away. Live chats can also be a form of synchronous communication if you respond to a customer’s inquiry right away and work together in real-time to solve the issue. This demonstrates to the customer that their concern is your priority, thus increasing customer engagement and brand loyalty.

female customer service agent typing on computer with headset on

When to Use Asynchronous Communication

On the other hand, asynchronous communication is great for remote collaboration on tasks that do not need to get done right away or must be worked on over a period of time. When you use asynchronous communication, you can easily collaborate with people who work remotely or live in a different time zone. Additionally, asynchronous communication can be used to solicit feedback, questions, and concerns virtually. As a business, you should always provide a way for customers to contact your business outside of business hours or at their convenience.

Asynchronous communication should also be used for scheduling meetings and introducing yourself virtually. When you use asynchronous communication, you show that you understand that the person you’re communicating with has other responsibilities and may not be able to respond to you right away. This communication style respects the other person’s time while letting you focus on other tasks while you wait for a reply.

So, in summary, you should use synchronous communication when a task or problem needs to be focused on right away. On the other hand, asynchronous communication is best when collaborating virtually or communicating about a future task.

Droplr: The Top Remote Tool for Asynchronous Communication

With so many ways to communicate, it can be hard to choose the right platform for the job. Fortunately, Droplr is there for you as an all-in-one asynchronous communication tool. With Droplr, you can easily take, upload, and share screenshots, screen recordings, and files. You can share anything you store in the Droplr cloud by simply pasting a short link into your favorite communication platform or CRM.

Here are some examples of what you can do with Droplr:

  • Take and annotate screenshots to show a bug to your dev team
  • Mark up an image sent to you by a graphic designer to request edits
  • Make a screen recording that shows a customer how to solve a problem
  • Upload and securely send sensitive files to clients 
  • Organize employee training documents into a board and then share the entire board with new employees

Droplr lets you communicate asynchronously with images, video, sound, and any other file. So, you can get the right materials to the right person without wasting time. If you want to see what else this top asynchronous communication tool can do for you, start a free trial or schedule a demo with one of our experts.

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