Communication is the foundation for any successful business, regardless of its size. Some would say that the success of a company is directly correlated to its ability to communicate effectively. There are two aspects of communication for business: internal and external. Internal communication includes how team members share information, corporate documentation, and project documentation.
Today, businesses can take advantage of the many collaborative tools that streamline internal communication, providing real solutions to workforces of all sizes. Internal communication can involve corporate chats, collaboration, and video conferencing. Given their often location-independent workforces and reputation for technological savvy, startups, particularly, may benefit from a robust and responsive internal communications strategy.
What are some of the best tools for each aspect of internal communication?
Tools for Corporate Chat
Particularly helpful if team members are spread across different locations, chat technology allows for instant communication between employees.
Slack: A real-time chat platform, Slack allows companies to establish channels to organize chats based on projects, departments, teams — whatever works best for your organization. Create private channels for management teams, invite clients into project-based chats and control what they see, or send direct messages to anyone within the company. Slack can be used across devices, making messaging possible on the go — wherever business may be taking place.
Slack’s best features: Drag-and-drop files, PDFs, spreadsheets, and images right into conversations and share them with anyone. In addition, all conversations are searchable using keywords, making it easy to find the exact conversation you need with its automatic index and archive system.
Slack’s pricing: Slack offers a free, limited (but still pretty robust) version, as well as other plan structures based on the number of users and services needed.
Yammer: Developed by Microsoft, Yammer makes it easy to collaborate with teams, get work done, and avoid duplication. Create groups, invite team members, and create and share documents — all in a searchable interface. Instant translation makes communicating with people around the world as simple as typing a message.
Yammer’s best features: Within Yammer, users can prioritize groups, making it easy to find other groups that relate. The navigation panel makes it easy to switch between groups and projects, keeping productivity high. It is accessible across multiple devices, so users can keep on top of communication via tablet, phone, or computer. Similar to Twitter, users can add names and email addresses to quickly bring people into a conversation.
Yammer’s pricing: Yammer is one of the Office365 applications and is included in the monthly user license fee.
Tools for Project Collaboration
Keeping projects going can be challenging, particularly when there are multiple people involved. Collaborative project management tools help businesses track progress, due dates, and completion status while organizing files in one easy-to-find location.
Asana: A list-maker’s dream tool, Asana offers users multiple options for project tracking. With a user-friendly interface, teams can create projects, assign due dates and responsibilities, and share files easily. Members can make comments, upload files or images, and interact in real-time for greater project success.
Asana’s best features: Users can arrange their dashboards to suit their work needs. Arrange by due date, project, or team for maximum accessibility. Calendar features make deadline-oriented projects easy to manage.
Asana’s pricing: Asana is free for teams of up to 15 people. For even more features or users, there are structured plans based on monthly user fees of up to $8.33.
Trello: Visually appealing, Trello displays projects as individual boards. Each board can be tagged with cards that include files, images, hyperlinks, and more. Team members can add comments, assign tasks, and monitor due dates from within each project.
Trello’s best features: Trello can be personalized with custom backgrounds, stickers and other user-friendly “Power-Ups” to increase productivity. Create checklists, see progress bars and more from within each board.
Trello’s pricing: Trello is free for all users. However, companies that wish to integrate other applications — such as SalesForce, Github or Google Drive — or that want to have administrative control options may join Business Class for access even more features. Base plans start at $8.33 per user, per month.
Tools for Video Conferencing
Decreasing travel costs, building relationships and collaborating in real-time are all results of using video conferencing effectively.
GoToMeeting: The gold standard video conferencing tool, GoToMeeting is one of the best video conferencing platforms available. Since its 2004 start, GoToMeeting has evolved with technology. Accessible on all devices, GoToMeeting allows users to connect with anyone, anywhere, anytime.
GoToMeeting’s best features: Users can share their desktops with attendees, take advantage of HD video, and communicate in real-time with up to 100 people.
GoToMeeting’s pricing: Limited features are available free for freelancers and consultants meeting with up to 3 attendees. Plans range from $15 to $49 that can accommodate various numbers of attendees and the need for additional services and features.
Blue Jeans : A cloud-based service, the Blue Jeans Network strives to provide every conceivable video related service a company may need. Video collaboration, primetime events, conference room systems, and more are available on multiple devices, and services are scalable to grow with your business.
Blue Jeans’ best features: Used by some of the largest corporations today, Blue Jeans offers reliability and security. It allows for branding of invitations, landing pages, and meeting rooms, and has top-notch support staff to handle any issues users may encounter.
Blue Jeans’ pricing: Blue Jeans offers users a free trial to explore the features it offers. Contact its sales department for additional information regarding pricing and usage packages.
For many startups, budget is a driving force when making decisions. With economical plans that grow with the size of the company, however, even the smallest startup can utilize the same tools that big corporations are using. Putting effective internal communication tools into place can help leaders turn their attention to making their business a success.