When NOT to use Async Communication

This article is part of the serie: effective communication

Posted Nov 22, 2023
2 min reading time

Following my "Story of staying in Prague" I realized that, in addition to understanding how to make asynchronous communication work for you, recognizing when not to use asynchronous communication is equally crucial.

Following my  "Story of staying in Prague" I realized that, in addition to understanding how to make asynchronous communication work for you, recognizing when not to use asynchronous communication is equally crucial.

Missing, wrong or cumbersome processes will cost you clients! Knowing when to avoid async communication is therefore crucial!

Here are the most important topics where we should AVOID using asynchronous communication, and two more pieces of advice coming at the end as well.

The NO-ASYNC Rules

1️⃣ Time Sensitivity and Emergencies ⏰🚨

In the fast-paced world of remote work, certain issues require immediate attention. Whether it’s an urgent matter or last-minute changes, synchronous communication ensures swift responses, preventing potential setbacks. This also includes last-minute changes or urgent issues.

2️⃣ Negotiation-Driven Discussions 💬🤝

Negotiations encompass nuances that we may overlook when using asynchronous channels. Synchronous communication permits real-time clarification and a quicker resolution of uncertainties.

When some prerequisites in previously agreed details change, or certain requirements cannot be fulfilled, we should revert to synchronous communication (see the previous point).

This situation resonates with my reservation (booking) experience in Prague.

3️⃣ Ideation and Dynamic Variables 💡🔄

In creative collaboration, synchronous communication excels. Real-time discussions during complex ideation sessions promote a dynamic exchange of ideas, fostering more innovative solutions.

Yet, some async techniques, like the 6-3-5 BrainWriting (post about it coming soon), also hold promise.

4️⃣ Escalation-Prone Situations 🔥🛑

Certain scenarios have the potential to escalate if not addressed promptly. Synchronous communication becomes the go-to in preventing and managing situations that could spiral out of control when left to asynchronous channels.

5️⃣ Delivering Critical Feedback 📣🔄

Constructive criticism is best delivered with immediate context. Make sure to ensure that critical feedback is conveyed in a timely manner, reducing the chances of misinterpretation and allowing for real-time clarification.

6️⃣ Relationship Building 👥💼

Beyond the exchange of information, in-person or video meetings offer a unique opportunity to build stronger relationships. Getting to know a person on a personal level fosters a deeper connection, enhancing collaboration in the long run.


💻 As a Technical Lead, mastering the sync-async balance is my secret sauce to navigating the remote work maze. 🧑‍💻⚖️

In conclusion, while async communication has transformed remote work, knowing when to sync up is the key to unlocking seamless collaboration in the digital age. 🌐💬

And the extra advices…

Be explicit:

It often happens that you initiate communication asynchronously on a platform where responses are not implemented (like the mentioned reservation). Since mishaps occur more often than not, the best thing you can do to avoid future surprises is to explicitly express over what channel you expect to be contacted in case of any problems. 📢🤔

For effective follow-up with remote teams:

Given the importance of synchronous communication, ensuring a couple of shared hours between teams is key. How do you currently manage this within your remote team? Any specific practices or tools you find most helpful? ⏰🌐

Join the conversation on LinkedIn. Your insights are valued.

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