Upon first waking up in the morning, most Americans – and the rest of the world for that matter – typically reach for the same thing while squinting through drooping eyelids. If you guessed their smartphones, you're absolutely right.
These addicting gadgets have become synonymous with everyday living, and we're more attached to them than we'd like to let on. But try to imagine a reality in which these mobile devices weren't as prevalent as they are today. Frankly, mobile devices and their access to the internet have shaped the world we know today.
That's what technology does; it's supposed to make our lives easier and give us the ability to communicate with each other faster.
And there's the rub – it's supposed to make things easier for us. But with so many tools out there to choose from, narrowing down the best communication tools for business can be a challenge in itself. Not to mention that every kind of business has its own needs, so not every tool will be a great fit for everyone.
Here's a breakdown of five of the absolute best communication tools (in no particular order) where you'll find the perfect fit for just about any size business.
Available on Android, iOs and Web
Features: Task management, team project collaboration, video calls
Popular integrations: GitHub, Dropbox, Google Drive, Slack
License: Paid subscription, free trial
There are tons of apps that aim to solve the same problem, but there's enough between all of them that it all comes down to personal preference. When it comes to task management and project collaboration across a team, every organization will tell you which tool is their favorite. The most popular solution out there right now is Trello, but Asana is another up-and-coming alternative worth considering.
With similar functionality for task management, Asana is also fantastic for team collaboration. From an experienced point of view, the interface is extremely user friendly and easy to get the hang of once you play around with it a little bit.
One area where it stands apart from other tools is the team communication aspect, where tasks can be assigned and team members can leave comments for others. When integrating multiple teams, it’s much easier to communicate goals and objectives when there is an open dialogue between members.
Available on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac and web
Features: Instant messaging
Popular integrations: Google Drive, Trello, GitHub, Dropbox, Giphy
License: Free and enterprise edition
From organizations small and large, Slack has what it takes to handle quick instant messaging for small businesses or huge enterprises.
Slack has gotten so big that the number of third-party integrations is gigantic and growing all the time. It's reliable and incredibly easy to use with minimal prompting for newer users. With some fun add-ons like Giphy's GIF finder, it has some interesting productivity hacks for hardcore users who want to max out Slack's usefulness.
The downside is that your team may become so reliant on Slack that it may be difficult to carry on important discussions using other internal communication systems. Another drawback is that Slack's free version only stores so many messages. If you want to reference a conversation which happened months ago, you may not able to get it. There is an enterprise option that opens up more integration, access to customer support at Slack and unlimited message storage.
Available on Android, iOs and web
Features: Seamless internal communications
Popular integrations: Salesforce, SharePoint, Slack, Marketo
For larger organizations, there are entire teams devoted to engaging and communicating with the entire workforce at large. Whether it's communicating with everyone at a headquarters or through a segmented workforce, keeping employees engaged is critical for motivation and overall satisfaction with their job.
The job of communicating with such a large number of people can be difficult on multiple levels, so HR and communications need all the help they can get. Of the internal communications solutions out there, SocialChorus is one of the finest examples of how software can empower teams to properly engage a workforce.
Not only is it great for mass communication with a centralized workforce, it also has the functionality to engage workers in multiple locations, such as outside salespeople, remote workers and even truck drivers. No matter where it is your employees call their office, SocialChorus is seamless across a sea of different devices.
Available on the web
Features: Video conferencing, document sharing, screen sharing, online conference calling
License: Free and business
Online conference call software is something many teams use every day, and this is again one of those solutions where personal preference plays a role. If you've ever used online conference tools like Zoom or GoToMeeting, you probably noticed a few headaches that come along with it.
No matter what, you'll be in the middle of a meeting when one invitee is having an extremely hard time dialing in. Creating new meetings, sending invites – most of these tools are just one big hassle.
But if you need a dead simple conference software that has video calling and really easy to use screen sharing, then look no further than Uberconference. With both a paid and free version, you always have the same number and URL to give out to attendees. No sign-in required, just call the number and use the provided PIN. This always stays the same, so there's rarely any confusion.
Available on Android, iOs, Windows and web
Features: VoIP calling
License: Tiered service plans
Traditional phone services appear to be disappearing more and more each day. Folks are favoring their cell phones over home phones, and more businesses are turning to VoIP calling services all the time.
But there's a good reason for the rise of VoIP; it works and provides high-quality phone audio. Not only that but when coupled with the functionality of a virtual office, you have a modern phone service that fits the needs of just about any organization.
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8x8 is one of the best VoIP providers out there, and their apps are built superbly, particularly if you use your smartphone to primarily make work-related calls. You can use your company line but have calls directed to your mobile device. Connecting calls and conferencing in members from other teams is also a breeze.
Get out and explore
The best teams that are empowered to do great things rely on proper communication. There's a whole world to explore, so it's time to get out there and find a solution that will benefit your organization. Whether you need better one-to-one communication options like Slack, or engaging a larger workforce, these tools will ultimately help you.