Voice Messaging: How It Works and Increases Your Productivity

What’s the easiest way to ask a quick question to a colleague who’s sitting next to you in a physical office? Is it a) Write them an email? b) Add another notification to their list of messages still-to-read on a platform like Slack or Microsoft Teams or c) Just lean across the desk and ask them?

The obvious answer is, of course, the last of these. No matter how many ways there are of contacting people in 2021, voice remains the quickest, easiest, and most straightforward. Speaking to someone doesn’t just convey information, but also context. Most people will, at some point, have picked up the phone and called a person because sending emails back and forth is an inefficient way of conveying exactly what we’re trying to say, without leaving room for ambiguity. But phones aren’t perfect for every scenario. This is where voice messaging comes in.

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The Importance of Voice Messaging for Remote Teams

These same principles regarding the importance of verbal communication remain true in a world where far fewer people are in the same physical space as they work. This is partly due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, but also relates to the changing face of work in 2021. Coronavirus has simply speeded-up a transition that was already happening: the shift towards remote work, often across vast geographic areas and even different time zones. The notion of having a team distributed around the world, but working together effectively, would have seemed impossible just a few years ago. Today, it is the “new normal.”

Researchers have demonstrated repeatedly that vocal communication is crucial for all sorts of reasons. For example, UCLA psychology professor emeritus Albert Mehrabian has found that intonation is 5x more important for conveying a message than simply the words spoken. (Everyone will be familiar with the statement, “it’s not what they said, but how they said it.”) Similarly, verbal communication can be used to promote team cohesiveness (it’s more personal than a dashed-off email), clarify issues, encourage collaboration, and far more.

It’s therefore essential that this important mode of communication carries over to the world of remote working. This is where voice messaging tools can shine.

All About Echo

Our solution, Echo, is one of the leading voice messaging services, designed to let teams talk to one another remotely using verbal communication. It works a bit like a text-based communication platform, only with voice messages replacing purely written ones. (Although cutting edge speech recognition tools also transcribe voice messages received, so that you can read them in text form if that is a preferable option in certain scenarios.)

Echo shows when users are online, away, or focused on another task. Team members can work by sending voice messages to one another, either individually or as part of a group in custom workspaces. Colleagues can see when a message has been listened to, thereby ensuring that a particular communication has been received. It’s even possible for messages to be sent when users are offline, much as it’s possible to leave a voicemail for someone when they’re out of cellular range. The next time the person is accessible, the message will be delivered without problem.

The Perfect Blend of Voice Calls and Text-based Messaging

Voice messaging represents the ideal mix of phone communications and text-based messaging. In an age in which we’re inundated with distracting WhatsApp messages, emails, text messages, Slack notifications and far more, it’s easy to spend hours typing away at computers or mobile devices without actually making progress on carrying out work, like typed reports, that you might have to do. Typing is an inefficient communication method that remains active simply because it previously hasn’t been replaced by something better.

Calling someone on the phone has more immediacy than adding yet another email to a person’s inbox. But it’s also not perfect for every situation. If you’re calling across time zones, phone calls may be problematic. They also necessarily interrupt the person you’re calling, without you knowing whether they’re in the middle of something that requires their focus when you call. In addition, phone calls aren’t always the best medium for considered conversations where you need to be able to work out an answer, in-depth, with access to the right information, as you might do while writing a text message.

A combination of the two types of communication, however, represents a game-changer. It’s a time-saving tool that reduces the extra workload of incessant emails or text messages, while allowing asynchronous conversations to take place and the clear advantages voice communication offers.

Real-time voice messaging is the ultimate productivity tool: making communication easier than ever, replacing more time-intensive messaging types such as emails, and making employees feel more valued by giving them direct verbal messages rather than impersonal lines of text to read.

Making Communication as Seamless as Possible

The history of computer interfaces is about making communicating intent as simple as possible. The mouse replaced the keyboard for many tasks, allowing us to point the cursor at objects we wanted to show interest in, rather than having to explain it textually. In many cases, touchscreens have replaced the mouse, since we can now physically point at things we want to click on, rather than having to grab hold of a peripheral device to do so. And, increasingly, voice is supplanting touch for lots of applications.

The rise of smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo devices, Google Home, Apple’s HomePod and others show that many users like being able to ask for things (whether it’s a summary of their calendar, the latest news, or a certain song on Spotify) without having to explicitly type out their request.

The same thing is true when it comes to team-based communications. Speaking to your colleagues to ask their advice, clarify an issue, share some thoughts or simply say “well done” on a completed project shouldn’t be a headache. The process of communication should be as seamless as possible, allowing you to dedicate all your energy to deciding what to say, not struggling with an interface in order to say it. A voice messenger can help.

The future is voice messaging. Echo voice messaging app for Mac (and, hopefully in the future, other platforms as well) is doing its part to bring about that mission.

Voice Messaging - FAQs

What is voice messaging?

Voice messaging allows you to message colleagues using your voice. This is superior to text-based communications because it allows other factors, such as intonation, to carry through. These are an important part of communication.

How is voice messaging different from texting?

The simplest answer is that it uses voice messages instead of text-based ones. However, the real difference is in the advantages. Voice messages are simpler to send, since they require zero typing, and allow for more nuance in messages.

How do I use voice messaging?

There are a number of different voice messaging services out there. We’re partial to our own Echo app for Mac, which provides voice messaging functionality for remote teams.

Where do voice messages get saved?

In the case of Echo, it’s stored on a private cloud, making it both private and accessible from wherever you happen to be. All data is encrypted, both in transit and at rest.

Team Echo

Updated on Mar 18, 2021

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