Like any collaboration tool, Slack has unique advantages and disadvantages when compared to other tools like Microsoft Teams or Webex. But a collaboration tool is only as good as its user. Here are some best practices and tips that can crank your Slack game – and productivity – up a notch.
Broadcast Your Availability and Expectations
Just because you are using Slack’s chat abilities for work doesn’t mean you have to exclude all traces of who you are and how you work.
Make sure your profile is complete with your information: name, professional title, phone number, and other non-Slack contact information if applicable.
Another best practice is to let people know when you’re online. Fill in the hours you expect to work, and be sure to update this when things come up or change, like personal emergencies or time off. This helps manage your colleagues’ and employees’ expectations for when you will be available to respond to queries and issues.
You can also use your Status for more than introductions and other static items. Use this area to post updates on team activity, sick days, and vacation time as well.
Threads and Channel Management
Channels and threads can be used in a myriad of ways to organize and archive important conversations, upcoming tasks, and more.
Pay attention to channel headers. Hopefully, the headers provide succinct and informative descriptions, with any action items, to steer other users to the correct channels when they are using the platform themselves.
You can also start a thread to keep your channel more organized while exploring specific conversations or topics within Slack.
Don’t Forget About Flags and Reminders
To keep track of action items, another Slack best practice is to click on the star to flag items that you may want to come back to later or things you need to complete and then report on later.
If you are in the middle of something important and you’re checking other threads, don’t fret – you can use Slack to set reminders so you can come back later and address an issue of you are too busy at the moment.
Remember the Golden Rule(s)
One common issue that is found in all chat-based collaboration tools, is miscommunication caused by the text-only exchanges. Which means you must do two things. The first is to temper all of your messages with a kind and unassuming tone. If there are questionable phrases that could be misconstrued by your team members, rewrite or remove them. And make sure to give your team members the benefit of the doubt when reading their messages. Frustration and confusion can be misinterpreted and feel aggressive or combative, but escalating the situation will only lead you further from your goal.
And if you have issues or are unsure which thread or channel a specific message should go in, don’t be afraid to ask! Check out this article from the RescueTime blog for some quick tips.
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