What is

Synchronous Communication


A type of communication in which ‌participants do not have a predefined time period in which to respond. For example, a telephone call, or face-to-face conversations.

What is Synchronous Communication?

Synchronous communication is a type of immediate communication in which people are present to exchange messages. This takes place in real-time, whether it’s online, through the phone, or in person.

This is the opposite of asynchronous communication, where distributed teams work independently while communicating through project management and communication tools like Miro, Trello, Notion, Asana, JIRA, and Loom. Instead of video conferencing, videos are often recorded to share video messages, tutorials, or presentations. This is great for teams in different time zones.

Online synchronous communication requires a stable internet connection and relies on both parties being available at the same time. This could also take place on the phone, which requires a stable phone connection, or in person! In this case, two people or more are present to communicate synchronously. Examples of synchronous communication include:

What are the benefits of Synchronous Communication?

Communicating synchronously comes with various benefits, such as: 

  • Increased efficiency and collaboration – this is helpful when it comes to brainstorming ideas. Colleagues can bounce ideas off one another and offer quick feedback. This keeps things moving and can be especially helpful when it comes to finishing a sprint.
  • Clear and instantaneous response times – colleagues can come to a solution quickly for urgent tasks or issues that may pop up when replies are instant. Synchronous communication is also much clearer and comes with less guesswork. It is easier to gauge how colleagues feel on a video call than just through a Slack message.
  • Allows for a more personal connection – Real-time communication can help colleagues connect beyond the workplace. This offers colleagues space to interact and talk about their hobbies, etc. This is the foundation of a strong company culture. 

What are the drawbacks of Synchronous Communication? 

Synchronous communication is great for fostering relationships and company culture, but it also has its drawbacks, such as: 

  • Scheduling conflicts are inevitable – In a remote setting, employees tend to have their own schedules. Flex hours mean colleagues may be out of the remote office and attending an appointment when you need to host a meeting. This also depends on the scale and how distributed the team is. Do you have to account for different time zones?
  • Lack of focus time – Too many meetings, instant messages, or notifications will disrupt a smooth workflow and limit remote employees’ ability to focus on their work deeply. This could decrease productivity. Consider having a ‘no-meetings Friday’ or asking employees to block out a time in their calendar for focus.
  • Unpredictable tech issues – We’ve all been through it. From lagging video calls, internet disconnections, login errors, or even sending an invite to the wrong email. Always have a backup plan, like having the option for colleagues to call in, if colleagues cannot join a video meeting. You can also consider recording meetings so no one misses out. This is usually the case for company-wide meetings!

What are some tips for Synchronous Communication?

Synchronous communication can be your biggest advantage when used strategically. With that being said, it doesn’t have to be your only form of communication. This method of communication is best for making sure your team is on the right track to finishing a goal or to cultivating relationships. You can limit these meetings to remain productive while still forming a strong company culture and completing tasks on time. The most productive synchronous meetings are:

  • One-to-one meetings to connect on a deeper level
  • Daily or weekly stand-up meetings to ensure teams are in sync
  • Meetings to discuss crisis or complex projects

To ensure productivity, your team should also get to know different communication and project management tools for seamless real-time collaboration.