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Dec 12, 2022

5 Questions: When to Use Asynchronous vs. Synchronous Video

Brittany Angelilli
Marketing Coordinator

If you’ve worked remote for any length of time it’s become clear that both synchronous and asynchronous video are essential for effective collaborative communication. At Screencastify we have an affinity for asynchronous video. As a partially remote company, we’ve seen first hand (and from our users) that utilizing all forms of communication is integral to effective collaboration.  

There have likely been times when you’ve asked yourself if you should be using synchronous or asynchronous video to communicate effectively with your team or company-wide. Below we share some situations we often find ourselves in and when it’s best to use synchronous or asynchronous video

1. Time difference between coworkers⌚️

If you’re working at a remote or hybrid company, you and your coworkers might be  in different time zones. And who wants to send a meeting invitation for 7 a.m. when asynchronous video exists? Let’s let colleagues have their morning coffee first. ☕️

Asynchronous video 

  • When the work can move along without all parties having to be online at the same time. 
  • When you are able to communicate effectively via video. 
  • When you’re sharing high-level concepts. 
  • When you would rather have a colleague send a video or email vs. scheduling a meeting — that’s a good sign async video is a great option. 

Synchronous video 

  • When – the meeting can take place within respectable working hours for all parties involved. 
  • When the topic will spark immediate questions that need to be answered before the next steps can be accomplished. 

2. How complex is the topic 🤔

Misinterpretations are going to happen in any form of communication. Each of us is likely to be able to recount a situation in which they’ve either been misunderstood or misunderstood someone else. Tone, inflection, sarcasm, and punctuation can often be misinterpreted via written text. In an attempt to communicate as effectively as possible we can use video.

Asynchronous video 

  • When you know the topic could easily be misinterpreted or lead to confusion. 
  • When you’re doing a walk through of a report that does not require questions to be answered immediately. 
  • When you know there will be little to know questions that need to be resolved immediately. Recording async video allows for you to share your knowledge to your organization without having to repeat yourself in individual meetings. 
  • When someone would benefit from being able to go back and rewatch the video to further understand details. 

Synchronous video 

  • When the topic is complicated and/or requires immediate feedback and input. 
  • When you find a topic is complicated or multilayered, create an async video to send to the team before and it is guaranteed to help the project move along with ease during synchronous meetings.   

3. How urgent is the meeting? 📈

While this question could be pretty simple to answer, it doesn’t make it any less important when choosing between async and sync video. 

Asynchronous video 

  • When you don’t need an immediate response or the project is far out, creating async video is a great way to collaborate with your team in a way that works best for everyone's schedule. 

Synchronous video 

  • When – you’re in crisis mode or this issue would quickly negatively impact others it’s best to jump into video in real time. 

4. How many participants need to be involved? 🙋

Ask yourself - does this meeting need four people, or does this meeting require a team of 30 people? When attendee count goes up the likelihood of async video being a good choice increases. Let's explore other scenarios and what we’d recommend. 

Asynchronous video 

  • When the message is something everyone in the company should be privy to. 
  • When it would be to get many people on the call within everyones working hours. 

Synchronous video 

  • When the topic requires a real time exchange of dialogue or you just need a dose of your colleagues' encouraging smiles.  

5. Can you start with async and move to sync later? 🖥

This is our personal favorite deciding factor. At Screencastify, we encourage everyone to start with async and move to synchronous. 

Asynchronous video 

  • When you can move on with a project, task, or to-do list for the day after watching this video without needing to touch base immediately. 

Synchronous video 

  • When you need a real time brainstorm. When you need direct approval before being able to move forward, or need to align with your team before taking next steps.

Would you want a sync or async video? 

Technology is evolving quickly and with that we must adapt.

While previously sync video was recommended for remote work or cross functional collaboration, async is changing the game. At Screencastify we have staff across the United States and Internationally. For us, asynchronous video has allowed us to collaborate with everyone in a timely manner. How do you use asynchronous video? Share with us on Twitter @screencastify

Start using asynchronous video today with Screencastify!

Brittany Angelilli
Marketing Coordinator

Here to offer insights and tips on creating great video with Screencastify.