Due to the type of work that I’m involved with, I’m required to stay in contact with a number of different companies at the same time, and it can be hard to coordinate all of the communication that needs to happen. Phone calls and e-mail can work well, but many times you end up facing unreturned voicemails and delayed e-mail responses. I’ve been there before, and as you know, these delays can really interfere with your schedule. It’s very important to make sure that everyone is on the same page since one of the biggest dangers to a team is miscommunication. 37signals has offered another solution called Campfire that will help you setup Web-based chat rooms in a matter of seconds.

Why use chat rooms for internal communication? Well, for one, you can include more people than you could on a conference call (Campfire supports up to 60 participants), and this online real-time communication makes people feel more comfortable and helps them to stay informed about what’s going on instantly. Files can be shared, images can be displayed, and source code can be formatted properly for everyone to see. All of your chat transcripts are automatically saved, so if there’s ever a dispute about something that was said, you can just pull up the archives to get the final word on what really happened. Of course, private chats are allowed for sensitive conversations, so if you want to keep something off of the record, then you can do so. The free version lets four chatters use the room simultaneously, and it gives you 10M of disk space. Anything more than that will cost you, and there are a variety of options to choose from.

[tags]e-mail,37signals,campfire,phone calls,internal communication,chat rooms[/tags]