Virtual Groups and the Three Ways Of Communicating
Virtual groups are a big part of society now. While they hold the same intentions as their face to face counterparts, virtual groups have their own benefits and challenges. Like all groups, there is a reason for virtual groups. Whether it be for work, school or personal reasons, there is usually a goal in mind for a group. Virtual groups merely connect the people in an easier way, so even if a person is out of the country, they can still be part of a group.
Virtual groups open up the way that a group can communicate. One communication technology that has been widely accepted and used by the new generation is texting. This can be in the form of text sent through cell phone devices, or emails and messengers on a computer. In this way, people do not have to be close by to participate in a group, they only have to have access to an internet connection or phone service. I find this the best option for clients that I have worked with in the past. Very little communication beyond text is needed to get the job done.
Audioconferencing is another tool that is widely utilized by virtual groups to successfully complete a goal. This can be a phone call that adds other users into the conversation. In this way, the team can talk in real time and accomplish more, faster, than opposed to emails and text back and forth. This is a great technology to use when a job has a limited time to be accomplished. Emails and texts can take hours, whereas one ten minute phone call can clear it all up. So if your group is on a tight schedule, audioconferencing may be the way to go.
Videoconferencing is employed when a face to face is the only way. A lot of times, people will use programs like Skype to talk to one of more individuals. With the added visual display, reactions and small body languages can be observed. This is good for use with new clients or someone who is not known well. Their reactions can tell you more about them, then a hundred emails. Many people prefer to see who they are working with and this is a great way to accomplish that.
Videoconferencing is one of the newest and most technological advances in communication. It can make people from all over the world, be able to see each other, as well as talk in real time. These technologies are crucial for transnational companies that do business in other countries. Decisions will need to be made fast and information may need to be sent and received, beyond what text can accomplish. This has saved countless travel dollars as well as made managing from afar easier than ever before.
Virtual groups are new to our world and with time, even more will be accomplished using these types of groups. People are no longer limited by distance with virtual groups.
Rothwell, J. D. (2013). In Mixed Company: communicating in Small Groups and Teams, Eighth edition. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning