Synchronous and Asynchronous

Learning Objectives

Compare synchronous and asynchronous scenarios in online speaking.

There are two basic types of online speeches, synchronous and asynchronous.

Synchronous speeches are where you give your speech online in real time to a live online audience. Typically with synchronous speeches, the speaker and audience are using some kind of web conferencing or virtual communication software such as Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts to be virtually present together for the speech. The audience may be all physically located in a single space such as a classroom or conference room to view the speech or they may not be gathered together and instead be watching from a computer or mobile device in their home or office.

When giving a synchronous speech, a speaker may have the ability to get feedback from the audience in real time and adapt their speech as a result of that feedback.

Asynchronous speeches are not delivered in real time to a live online audience, but are instead recorded for viewing at a later time convenient for the audience. Typically, asynchronous speeches will be delivered straight to a camera with no audience present. In an asynchronous speaking situation, the speaker cannot receive feedback from their virtual audience and so must prepare their speech accordingly.

There are some types of speeches that combine synchronous and asynchronous elements. For instance, in some cases a speaker talks in front of a live audience and a recording of the speech is posted online for a virtual audience to view. The best known example of this kind of speech delivered to a live audience and posted online would be a TED Talk. More commonly, online meetings or webinars are recorded so that they can be viewed later, hence both synchronous and asynchronous.

Synchronous and Asynchronous

In this video, second graders discover that their synchronous session is actually being recorded. You don’t have to be afraid of asynchronous online speech! But you should be aware that it’s being recorded for posterity, and behave accordingly.

You can view the transcript for “‘We’re toast’: Teacher drops off zoom call and 2nd graders hilariously try to behave l GMA Digital” here (opens in new window).

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