What Is Asynchronous Communication? — A Brief Description

Asynchronous communication is any type of collaboration where on persons provides information, and the recipients take the information and responded on their schedule.

In short, asynchronous communication isn't real-time.

Let's explore the difference between asynchronous and synchronous communication.

Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Communication

The primary difference is: synchronous happens in real-time, while asynchronous doesn't. With synchronous communication, you deliver information to your audience, and they respond immediately.

While there are certain situations where synchronous communication is better (for instance, 1:1s, brainstorming sessions, …) it usually requires extensive planning to ensure everyone can participate.

Asynchronous Communication Tools

The archetypes of asynchronous communication are forums (for instance Discourse, Circle and Playgroup) and email. An internal wiki is also a good example for asynchronous communication.

Recently, asynchronous video tools joined the ranks. Tools like Loom, Yac and ZipMessage are a good way to get your message out quickly and add a personal touch to it.

Chat Is Not Asynchronous

While you could use a chat (Slack, Teams, …) to communicate asynchronous, the expectation of an immediate answer is what makes chat synchronous.

Don't get me wrong, chat has its place in the tool belt of a remote team. But the “always on” and FOMO (fear of missing out) trigger that chat often induces makes it a bad choice for asynchronous communication.

Asynchronous Communication is critical for a remote team to ensure everyone can choose when and where they consume information — and equally when and where they respond. While it seems like it's slowing you down, it leads to better decision-making and ensures that messages don't get lost.