instant messaging tools

Must Have IM Client Features

I’m an IM freak, amongst other things, and have a few core features that I reach for on a daily basis. Because I handle admin and support functions for several business units, I regularly need more than just chat to help my team get back up and rolling as fast as possible.

1. Chat – of course
At the top of the list is the ability to chat. No big surprise – it is an instant messenger. I use chat to quickly walk people through problems, answer questions, and shout out orders.

2. File sharing
I am always sending docs to people. Whether it’s an Excel spreadsheet, a technical PDF, or just a funny picture; I have to be able to send files fast.

3. Emoticons
Yes, I use the smiley on a regular basis. Chat is notorious for not translating tone. A simple smiley goes a long way to making sure people understand that I am not upset or trying to keep it light.

4. Screen sharing
When chatting doesn’t work, I reach for screen sharing as the next best solution. This allows me to either fix the problem myself or at least show my teammate the solution.

5. Voice conference
This is great if you are already chatting and don’t want to make a phone call. Just click and talk. It doesn’t get much easier and voice conference is indispensable when you just need to hear a voice on the other end or need to run some training for more than one person.