Monday, January 14, 2008

Communication and Collaboration Tools

I do quite a bit of my work remotely. I tend to sit in my home office and work, sometimes late into the evenings like today. Also, much of the work I do is with groups of people spread all across the country or even in several different countries. Right now I am involved in one project with people here in Texas, in Georgia, in California, and in Japan. I am involved in another project with people in several states, in Germany, and in Eastern Europe. I also have to communicate with people from time to time in several other states and countries.

Of course email works well for much of my day-to-day communication needs. However, email does have some significant shortcomings. There are times when I just need to speak to someone. For that, one of my favorite tools to use is Skype – one of the popular VOIP tools available today. One great thing about Skype is that the basic service is free. All I need is an internet connection and a computer and I can communicate by voice with anyone, anywhere, who also has those. Since my laptop has a built in camera, I can also let them see me while we are talking and they can do the same. Skype also allows phone calls to any mobile or land line anywhere in the world for very small charges. I can even purchase a phone number in several different cities and allow people from those cities to make local phone calls to me. Of course Skype also offers voice mail so if I am out or on another call I won’t miss my calls.

Two other communication tools I like are LinkedIn and Ning. Both of these are social networking tools. LinkedIn is a great tool for professional networking. It provides a way to keep up with what is happening with other professionals in one's network. Ning allows people to set up their own personal networks. I have only been using it for a short time but I think it is great.

I will write more later about these and other communication and collaboration tools I use.

No comments: