It’s not even close, is it?
Try it for yourself.
Take a recent discussion you’ve had via instant messenger and say it out loud either by yourself or with a (patient) partner. Try to do this at a normal conversational speed.
We took a 30 minute one to one instant messenger discussion on Slack last week and read it out loud at normal conversational pace. It took 3 minutes.
That’s a big 27 minute difference.
If you have 7 working hours each day, that’s 6% of your day wasted. You can extrapolate your own company-wide costs and benefits here (cost per employee time, benefits of your team being 6% more efficient etc…).
It’s clearly quicker to say what’s on your mind than type it, wait for the other person to read it, write their reply, and then have them wait for you to read it etc…No surprises here.
But this changes as a group gets bigger. At around 5+ people, it’s usually quicker to use instant messenger. Multiple people can share and chime in with their opinion simultaneously. We can read quicker than we can listen.
Simple collaboration principles then.
1) If you’re making a simple request to a large group (where any recipient might have the information you need) instant messenger works as a great tool.
2) If you’re having a discussion with a group of 5+ people it may also make sense to go digital.
3) If you’re having a discussion with 2 to 5 people that extends beyond 3+ exchanges (via email, responses etc..) you should always call.
You might be surprised just how much time this simple tweak could help you.
p.s. Can you answer these 10 questions about collaboration?