There’s no question that group chat has transformed the way we work. No longer do we have to schedule in-person or conference calls in order to get immediate answers to questions, disseminate information, or brainstorm ideas. Instead, we can do it all via a team chat that everyone can see, and respond to, in real time.
At this point, most organizations have some form of group chat app, but if you’re only using yours to talk to your colleagues about project work (or your lunch plans), you’re missing out on some great features that can help you be more productive and have more meaningful interactions – whether you’re in the same office or scattered around the world.
To get more from your next group chat, look for a service that gives you access to a wide range of features or add-ons, including:
- File Collaboration: Some chat tools give you the power to actually open your files and work on them with others in real time. This handy feature helps ensure that all ideas, changes, and updates are incorporated, and gives everyone in the team chat the opportunity to review documents and approve them on the fly. Of course, if someone needs additional time, they can download the file, make their edits or comments, then upload it back to the chat later. This way, all of your communication about a file is in one place.
- Access to Apps: More and more, apps are what we're using to tackle projects at the office and on the go, so it only makes sense to choose a group chat app that also integrates with the other apps that you rely on. For example, if you use a file repository or library app that allows you to store and organize all of your documents, images, video and audio for a project in one place, choose a group chat service that allows you to access that app directly from your chat. With the ability to pull up documents within your chat window, they'll be easier to discuss.
- Chat History: Team chat apps that allow you to view the entire chat history make it easy to log meeting minutes, document requests or changes to a file, and generally review who contributed what to the conversation. That way, if anyone from the discussion needs clarity, it's just a click away. And, if any team members couldn't make it to the chat, all they'll need to do is review the chat history to get up to speed.
- Group Calling: For those times when speaking, and seeing your chat participants live (and not just viewing their desktops or documents) is important, look for a group chat app that integrates with your favorite video chat or videoconferencing app. That way, you can all hop on a call or webinar directly from the group chat.
- Meeting Scheduler: For project managers or anyone who needs to schedule meetings, having access to a meeting scheduler app can make planning chats, calls, and in-person meetings easier. With the power to see all of your team's calendars in one location, whether you're in a live chat or not, makes it easy to plan follow-up discussions.
Team chat apps allow you to connect with those you work with – whether they're in your own building or doing remote work halfway around the world. And with the power to use built-in features, like document collaboration and instant messaging, and add in your go-to apps, like group calling services, they can become even more useful. Just be sure to choose your group chat app wisely – and go with one from a company with a proven history and commitment to the future. After all, you probably don't want to introduce your team to a new chat app every year, so make sure that the one you choose is one that's here to stay.