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Back again from the heyday of AOL in the 1990s, chat rooms offer new prospects for businesses.
The Internet has fundamentally altered the way we communicate. We are no longer restricted to interacting and working with the same 10 people in the office or sharing the same gossip around the water cooler. Our offices can be borderless, and so can our communication. This digital age offers us opportunities that our parents and grandparents could not have imagined.
The Human Aspect
People are more inclined to work with people they are familiar with, even if only in cyberspace. Under that thinking, a chat room functions as an imaginary virtual buffet to meet and mingle with potential business connections. The smart small business manager will utilize chat rooms to promote that connection within their team and with clients.
The intimacy aspect of chat rooms is well explored in the burgeoning chat room industry. As part of the experience offered on different matchmaking and relationship finding websites, chat rooms allow users to become connected more personally and learn about each other before moving forward to real life dating. It’s a very intelligent person-to-person interaction model. It’s that same kind of personal connection that chat rooms can offer for your business.
Public vs. Private Chats
We hear about many prevalent chat platforms, such as the popular SnapChat, which continues to do well in an ever-changing tech landscape, and WhatsApp courts the market dominated by Facebook. WhatsApp provides chat options even for friends and associates out of the country, a great and less expensive alternative to making international phone calls.
Twitter’s chat presents another option, often with controversy (famous folks tend to say the darndest things on Twitter and hear a lot about it from their fans and followers). That form of chat is very public. The private chat is experiencing resurgence now that people are seeking closer connection and less attention from the all-seeing eye of the internet crowd.
All of this connects to your work managing individuals remotely. You need to critically assess what forms of communication will best suit your team’s needs and goals.
Among these offerings is Slack, with real-time messaging, archiving, and searching included in its package. It presents itself as a modern version of an Internet Relay Chat, simplified for the current user. Originally launched in 2013, its mobile platform has grown through the years and become a favorite corporate communication method.
Aside from personal use, chat rooms present a wealth of opportunity to the modern business owner. Many employees now work part or full-time from home and every new possible method of communication from afar needs to be investigated by entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses.
It’s All About Who You Know…
Networking is an age-old business practice that you need to keep up with to succeed. In business, you should constantly hone your network and improve your connections. Every person you meet is a potential contact. The more you share your message with people, the wider your circle becomes.
People you “encounter” in small business chat rooms may be future clients, while others may become advisers and business links. It’s conceivable that you may find the right business partner for a new project in a chat room. So keep constantly honing your business communication abilities.
Become Your Product’s Guru
By participating in dialogues held in business chat rooms, you have the chance to establish your understanding about your product or service. Whatever your line is, make yourself known.
Show off your product knowledge in these chat rooms and build confidence in your brand among fellow chatters. This will later result in you being the go-to person when questions come up. Eventually, other contributors will come to trust your advice and are more likely to purchase from you because you have credibility.
Consider presenting a virtual meeting or workshop as another means to make use of small business chat rooms. You do not have to deal with fees to rent a meeting space and travel to it. Your guests can be present from wherever they have an Internet connection, so they can avoid transportation costs as well.
As a manager of employees spread across wide distances and connected by virtual technology, you need the right tools to keep everyone on track and on the same page. It’s a different challenge from the usual office politics, though the same skills of understanding human behavior and how to motivate your team do apply.
Working in teams is an essential part of a functional business. As traditional methods are changing, the models for business must shift to take in the diversity of new employees, delivery of services, and locations for all involved. Don’t be afraid to make use of new communication tools to bring your team together.