Tech Tips with Margaret: How to Decide Between Using Zoom, Slack, or Gmail for Your Virtual Communication Platform


Now that everyone has had to become familiar with virtual communication, it has helped many grow accustomed to the different ways of doing so.

However, talking via video call, an email, or a group chat all convey very different tones to your message. While each of these tools is incredibly useful, using them interchangeably is opening yourself up to a breach of etiquette.

Suzanne Oliver of the Wall Street Journal recently offered some help for determining the right communication method for the right situation. That way you can focus on the content of your message rather than worrying about a potential faux pau.


An email is the most formal virtual communication choice, which can be a good thing. You don’t want to appear overly casual with someone you’re not acquainted with.

For reaching out to someone new or providing information that a person might need to have saved for the future, a simple email is usually the best way to go.


If you need to give or receive information quickly to coworkers, Slack has its advantages. Slack’s more casual nature means people don’t need to carefully formulate a substantial reply with an opening and a signature at the end.

If you just need basic information like what folder a certain file is in, a quick response works fine. Likewise, if someone is reaching out via Slack, it’s probably because their priority is on finding something out fast rather than having a lengthy conversation.


A video conference demands the most attention of everyone involved, which is exactly what you want for a nuanced conversation. If you have an important matter to discuss at length, the immediacy of a video call is the most expedient way to do so.

You don’t want to sit around for hours waiting for an email reply to such a matter, or risk having the topic overlooked in a quick moving chat. Conversely, colleagues would likely be rather annoyed if you initiated a video call for every minor question you had.

Learning virtual etiquette is a new challenge for many, but it is also essential given just how many are relying on virtual communication in the workplace now.

For further guidance on when to use each of your communication tools, read the Wall Street Journal’s article by clicking here.

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