Gini Dietrich

The Big Question: What Are Your Favorite Communication Tools?

By: Gini Dietrich | August 4, 2017 | 
11

The Big Question: Communication ToolsWe are communicators. It’s what we do.

We develop communication strategies for our clients, and we communicate about different ways of communicating those communication strategies (say that 10 times really fast).

It’s no secret we feel Slack is one of the best communication tools out there, but we also know whether you work virtually, or in an office environment, there are many different options available.

With that in mind, this week’s Big Question asks:

Slack, Fleep, HipChat, Google Hangouts, and Skype.

There are a lot of options.

Which communication tools work best for communicating with your team or clients?

Conferencing is a Pain

There are several tools Dan Roberge uses to improve productivity, but conference calls dominate his day.

I have tons of conference calls every day and UberConference allows me to host an unlimited number of calls.

Each of my guests can either call in or connect through the app.

I can record all of the calls, and I’m also able to mute specific people or send messages privately.

The interface is really intuitive and allows me to quickly and easily perform certain commands in the middle of a call.

Screen-sharing is another added benefit that has proven incredibly useful when trying to share visual data and other important topics with clients.

The HD audio has also been great.

It’s free to use, and will save a lot of headaches when trying to organize conference calls.

Chris Madden agrees:

We use UberConference to conduct our weekly client meetings.

This tool is free and ensures clear communication with your client.

When on your laptop, you are able to conduct screen shares.

Another great feature about this tool is that it allows you to see who in the conference is talking by highlighting their profile name.

Another tool we use when working with our co-workers is Asana.

Each employee has a personal page with their list of tasks to complete, as well as shared client pages that allow us to keep track of what has been completed for each of our clients.

This is very useful to reference when we have our weekly client/team meetings. 

Is This a Secure Line?

Security is a significant concern for many organizations, whether communicating internally or externally.

From Anita Neville:

Here in South East Asia we live on WhatsApp.

It’s main way I communicate with my team and agency. Email plays a role, too.

I would love to use a tool like Slack or Basecamp (more on project management), but concerns about IT security, as well as low bandwidth and unreliable internet play a part in the decision-making.

It’s All About the G-Suite

As a fully-online business with a remote staff and international clients, Mike Sims depends heavily on communication and team-collaboration tools.

Our team couldn’t live without the G-Suite tools.

On a daily basis, we use these tools to communicate with one another, and our clients, through Gmail and Google Hangouts.

In fact, Hangouts has made it super simple for us to maintain constant contact with our international clients, and even gives us the ability to screen share and have presentations like we were all sitting together in a meeting room.

Furthermore, tools like Google Docs and Google Sheets allow us to work on documents together in real time.

We give our feedback through “comments” and can easily share these documents with one another by quickly linking to it from our Google Drive.

Truth is, I don’t know what we’d do without G-Suite!

Kathryn Mason can’t say enough about the G-Suite:

Can’t beat a Google shared work in progress doc! 

Face-to-face

Obviously face-to-face doesn’t always come into play with virtual organizations, but many people still need to look another person in the eyes.

Robert Barrows puts it plainly:

The best communication method for communicating with your team, your clients, and your co-workers is very simple… talk to them in person, see them in person, and see them as often as you can because you can’t kiss their butt over a computer.

I am in the advertising business, and if you don’t see your clients in person, someone else will… and if you don’t schmooze, you lose.

Susan Murphy is on a similar page.

You know, to this day, for me, nothing beats email, phone, or face-to-face.

Dustin Montgomery agrees with face-to-face, but adds others to the communication tools mix:

The best communication methods for our team in order of most effective are: In person conversations, emails, then slack.

Emails tend to carry more weight and are not forgotten as easily as a slack conversation.

In person conversations tend to trump all other methods for us.

The Best Communication Tools: Whatever Works

We all have our preferences, but sometimes you just have to go with the communication tools that work.

According to Rob Swystun:

I generally use Skype when communicating with clients and that’s based solely on convenience.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say they don’t have Skype, so it just seems like the most universal communications tool.

Google Hangouts and Zoom are also good, but when discussing meetings with clients, virtually everyone suggests Skype first.

However, if I am doing a phone interview, then I go with Google Hangouts because calls within North America are free, whereas you have to pay for them on Skype.

If you’re Tom Glover, sometimes what works is too long a list.

The issue we have is that there are too many platforms used across the business. This must be a growing problem.

As communicators how much do we try to combine or just embrace the diversity?

Primary: The tech teams use HipChat and GitHub.

Comms team uses Slack for internal and agency teams groups.

Jostle is our general social/intranet. There is also some secondary level use of Trello for workflow.

Howie Goldfarb has found the magic communication combination:

I like Zoom, Slack, SMS, Email, and passenger pigeon for any data needing to be kept safe from hackers.

Up Next: Best Non-fiction Books

If you’re like us here at Spin Sucks you like a good read. Many good reads.

We’ve even talked about the best business books you should read, or page-turning PR books.

Whether about business, history, politics, life, how-to or self-help, now we want to know:

What are the go-to, non-fiction books you think everyone should read?

You can answer here, in our Slack community, or on the socials (use #SpinSucksQuestion so we can find you).

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

  • paulakiger

    Yay books!

  • Stephen King’s On Writing always has a special place on my shelf. It doesn’t necessarily provide tons of actionable advice, but it always inspires me to get back to it. I’m also a huge fan of 10% Happier. Not a business book, or specific to PR or what I do, but it is amazing how it (and the app!) has helped me be more focused, grounded and (my family would agree) patient!

    • Debbie Johnson

      I love On Writing! It’s my favorite Stephen King book.

  • Tools: Skype, GoToMeeting, Google Sheets, and Sharepoint. I think we’re trying Slack.
    Book: Everybody Writes, Ann Handley (I’m behind on my reading!)
    And, it’s not a book, yet I enjoy the Washington Business Journal to keep up on things. It’s worth the subscription.

  • Edward M. Bury

    Everyone in this profession should read “Effective Public Relations” by Cutlip, Center and Broom. This text elevated the practice to a strategic level from press agentry.

  • Liz Reusswig

    I love Howie’s approach to security! LOL

  • I love Slack, period!

    Yay! More books! My favorite book this year is The Power of Habit. Haven’t read another to take its place in my preferences..yet.

  • Debbie Johnson

    One of my goals this year is to use technology/communication tools to be more efficient and effective at my job. Thanks for all the recommendations

77 Shares
Buffer10
Tweet23
Share
Share38
+16