Humans have two ways of communicating with each other: synchronously, meaning they’re in the same space at the same time having a dialogue; and asynchronously, meaning they’re in the same space at different times leaving messages for each other.
The most rudimentary example of asynchronous communication would be the town hall bulletin board where someone would post a message that they had three cows to sell, walk away and wait for a response. This is in contrast to the synchronous option, which would be to stand outside the town hall with three cows and talk to anyone who showed an interest.
Another example would be a simple letter someone wrote to another person, with the space in that case being the proximity to the paper on which the letter was written. You’d write it in your house, they’d read it in theirs.
Asynchronous communication has always been the easier of the two forms because as the communicator, you didn’t have to rely on anyone to say what you needed to say: you could pin up the cow message; you could write the letter. The problem with it was always efficiency — it took forever to get a response.
The Internet changed all of that.
Today, asynchronous communication is the fabric of the online world. Facebook groups, Google and Kijiji ads, even email — all forms of asynchronous communication, and all as instant as if you were standing in the same room.
Asynchronous communication and advisory boards
For as long as we can remember, advisory boards have been built around getting people together for a synchronous discussion, be it in a boardroom, on a conference call and, more recently, via a Web chat. And, of course, there’s value to having your board members in an actual or virtual room together, since 90% of communication is non-verbal.
But having an asynchronous channel set up in the background is incredibly valuable for a number of reasons, starting with the weeks and days leading up to a meeting.
Getting to know each other
There’s never enough time to get everything done at an advisory board meeting. So you don’t want to waste time with icebreakers, introductions or anything like that. An asynchronous platform, activated before the first meeting, can help advisors to get acquainted. Like the town hall bulletin board, your members could post a short bio, maybe a picture to put a face to the name. You could also post an icebreaker question or two to get the group talking. On the Impetus InSite Platform® (our asynchronous communication platform), members can respond directly to someone’s post for everyone else in the group to see so your members can really get to know each other before coming together.
Getting to know the product or service
Again, because there’s always a lack of time, any learning or thinking that can happen before a meeting is a good thing. And, like with the town bulletin board, you can post information about your product or service on the Impetus InSite Platform® well before the meeting for your advisors to consider. If you like, you can pose a few key questions to spark debate and discussion before you even formally start. This can help you to know where people stand and to finalize discussion topics before you walk into your first session.
Getting to know the objectives of the advisory board
Showing up with insights into the product and some familiarity with the other board members is great, but without context it can be confusing. Sharing the reasons for having the advisory board in the first place will help your advisors streamline what they read, understand the other members better and save time in the meeting by answering questions you know would have been bound to come up.
Given today’s hectic schedules, some advisory boards are choosing to forego synchronous communication altogether and stick with asynchronous. And with technology being what and where it is, it’s totally doable.
We’ve built a whole business around facilitating asynchronous communication that includes our Impetus InSite Platform®, our Campaign of Interactions® that lets you plan out an entire communications strategy, project management to keep everyone on track and robust measurement tools to make sure you’re spending your time and money wisely.
Whether you choose to go fully asynchronous or you’d like to offer an asynchronous platform as support for your board members, reach out and let us show you how we do it right.
Impetus is the Online Customer Advisory Board expert, offering the most comprehensive B2B Online Customer Advisory Board solutions. We increase customer intimacy, engagement and retention by creating a shared future direction with customer executives and key opinion leaders.