By Ruth Hill and the Mind Tools Team
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Using Instant Messaging (IM) Effectively

Dos and Don'ts for Quick Communication

Using IM Effectively

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Learn how to get your message across efficiently.

Phil is in the middle of researching and writing a report that his boss needs by the end of the day, but he's missing a key piece of information.

He knows that his colleague, who works in another building, has the necessary information. However, he doesn't want to call her because he knows that she's busy working on her own reports today. And it could be a few hours before she checks her email. So, he sends her an instant message through his organization's IM software. Within a few minutes, she replies, and Phil adds the information to his report.

Although instant messaging (IM) was originally used as a way to stay in touch with family and friends, it's now proving its worth in the business world. Managers and staff rely on IM to ask questions, collaborate on projects, and monitor home-based or virtual teams.

In this article, we'll explore the pros and cons of using IM at work. We'll also look at IM etiquette, and show you how to use it effectively and productively....

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