Seventy years ago, the journalist William H. Whyte coined a popular adage, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.“ Regardless of who the quote is ascribed to (sometimes even George Bernard Shaw is given credit), it gets at the perennial tension between the necessity of communication and the daunting difficulty in making it happen. This is especially true in large organizations with distributed teams.
Large organizations emerge because they make humans more effective. Corporations, volunteer groups and the military all harness the coordinated energy and diverse talents of teams to create benefits unavailable to individuals. Everything that organizations need for success – shared vision, efficient allocation of resources, coordinated action, communal learning processes – is ultimately built on investment in good communication.
How does the modern organization communicate?
With a marvelous and complex diversity of methods – face-to-face meetings, mail, email, texts, live meetings, phone calls, video and audio conferences, video broadcasts and more. While many are asynchronous communications, live video, and especially live audio, are particularly pervasive, yet often problematic.
We can roughly break this list of communications methods down into two broad categories – non-real time content sharing methods and real-time audio-video methods. Within audio-video collaboration channels, it’s pretty clear that audio is central. After all, you can have a productive audio conferencing experience without video, but video conferencing without good audio is sadly ineffective. All these tools play different roles in the overall team collaboration experience. Text ...