Best Slack Tips and Tricks to Stay Productive in 2021

The internal team communication has moved to newer avenues with the emergence of digital communication channels such as Slack. With the majority of teams choosing Slack to communicate, it is essential everyone adheres to some basic Slack tips and etiquettes.

Slack is considered for instant messaging and work updates, but it gets challenging when you get bogged down in these messages and notifications.

While companies can come up with their own guidelines and etiquettes for their Slack workspace, in this post, I will brief you about some of the healthy Slack tips and tricks that every team must practice. And ultimately, be kind to your co-workers, respect everyone’s space, do more focused work, while keeping communication open on Slack.

13 Best Slack Tips and Tricks to Stay Productive

1. Keep your Slack profile 100% complete

Just like any other communication channel, Slack has a way to add all your profile details. The essential fields provided are designation, department, title, local time, phone number, and work hours, apart from your name.

Enrich your profile with these details to keep everyone informed of what you’re responsible for, ultimately — making it easier for the rest of the company to recognize and communicate with you. Especially, if you’re part of a remote team, it helps team members recognize you better and not disturb you during your non-working hours.

Pro tip — Ensure the information is up to date. This means that you must tweak your profile if your work hours or availability changes.

2. Send compiled messages in direct chats

When you’re messaging a co-worker on Slack, it gets nagging when you send multiple messages in a row. And if they don’t have their notifications snoozed, they receive push notifications for every message you send. Quite disturbing, right? For instance, here’s how you shouldn’t be sending a message on someone’s DM!

Multiple messages can not only break one’s concentration; they can also come out as unprofessional. So, either wait for them to reply after one message or send them a longer compiled message at once. And they can get back to you whenever they find the time. As an example, here’s how it can be done better -

3. Focus on your tone and avoid email linguals

Slack can be overwhelming when conversations are continually stirring and messages pouring in one after another. In these moments, it becomes tempting to instantly reply to a conversation without looking at how people respond.

So, it’s also essential to recognize the communication style when you’re added to a new channel. Spend some time to understand what language everyone is using, and so on. Keep in mind that you don’t mix your email etiquette with Slack messaging.

With emails, the conversations don’t happen in real-time. You can star mark an email and reply to it later. But you cannot do the same in Slack. Imagine, everyone is conversing around a topic you’re a stakeholder in, and you’re ignoring the messages without your team knowing why? It’s going to come out as rude and unprofessional.

4. Avoid sharing personal information on Slack

Once you start using a networking or communication app, becoming casual in conversations seems like a natural tendency. This turns even the most professional applications into Instagram and Facebook, making them look more casual than required.

Unless the co-worker is your great friend and receives your messages in the same tone as you send them, the conversations need to be related to work. For example, they need to be aimed at communicating about assigned tasks, members, working capacities, work scope, challenges at work, etc.

This is because the sole purpose of Slack is to strike a difference between personal and professional discussions.

5. Send well-formatted and enriched messages

Even if it’s slack, don’t forget to organize your messages. Send messages with intent by using italic text to highlight key points, bulleted lists, and emojis for making the content easier to scan and minimize follow-up queries.

Sending long messages will prevent multiple follow-up messages, as you would have already included the important points in the main message. These are especially useful while communicating an action plan, results, analysis reports, and meeting minutes. Take a look below at how you can easily format your long messages.

However, sending long messages does not mean that you start writing them like you write emails. Remember that another person is waiting for you to finish so they can put their opinion forward, so you must respect that.

6. Use threaded messages for a clean workspace

The threaded message is an amazing Slack feature that makes it easy to clarify doubts on specific messages instead of sending messages irrelevant to other people. This makes sure that the doubts get cleared while keeping the main channel area clear.

Threads also group relevant messages together, so if you need to refer to an important notice while working, you can have a look at the thread, and you’re sorted. So, this also takes away the scope for miscommunication, ensuring clarity.

To make sure your team uses threads, you can include some channel guidelines in the channel descriptions. This will give the team a sense of what they should and should not do on the team channel.

7. DM vs. Sending messages in channels

With Slack, not all conversations can happen in public. You need to know when you should message on the team channel and when to message personally.

If it’s a specific question or a direction for a task, message the concerned person individually rather than disturbing everyone if it’s not related to them. For instance, if it’s an update, share it in your team channel.

Direct messages allow for easy communication and should be used to communicate things in person.

You should also send a direct message before you add someone to a team channel. This is essential because this will inform them about channel expectations and guidelines to communicate on the same.

Once the conversation is done, you can archive the chat and uncover it later, but doing this will keep your Slack chaos-free. For more details on how channels work, read Slack’s guide on how to use channels to organize your work.

8. Use emojis for quick communications

Emojis are highly underrated but can communicate a lot without sending ‘I second you,’ or ‘acknowledged’ every time. These follow-up messages fill up the Slack channel and the notifications disturb people doing their work.

Instead, consider using emoji reactions. You can inculcate a Slack culture where the team uses emoji reactions to communicate what they want to say. This will reduce unnecessary messages and ensure that important messages don’t get missed out in the chaos. For instance, if you are running a poll, use emojis to get poll reactions:

Similarly, use emojis for ‘ok’, ‘thumbs-up’, ‘smile’, and so on to keep conversations minimal. Below is a small instance of how we say ‘yes’ or ‘okay’ or ‘send appreciation’ on Slack -

9. Display your status using relevant emojis

This Slack feature allows you to insert a message beside your name along with an emoji to tell your co-workers what you’re doing. This can be ‘Driving’ or ‘Having Lunch’ and more.

These statuses help people understand when not to message you and why you’re not responding at a particular point in time. It helps manage expectations and maintain transparency.

10. Inform your team about your unavailability

While putting a status can inform the team about your whereabouts, ensure that you announce it as well when you’re leaving a conversation on the channel. This way, people don’t expect a reply from you. Tell them why you’re stepping out of the conversation and then put it up as a status for other people’s reference.

It’s better to inform than being unresponsive and unintentionally rude. So, it’s okay to be busy and opt out of the conversation, but don’t do it unannounced.

11. Pin important conversations

With Slack, conversations keep on stirring because of which important conversations can get lost amidst the noise. So, whenever important details are shared on Slack, avoid repeatedly asking the same thing.

Slack has the perfect solution for this. You can pin the conversations that are important and would be helpful on the go. For instance, we ensure as a team we are working towards the same goal. That’s why anything related to this is always pinned up in our group.

This ensures all the important information is in one place, and you don’t have to scrounge the channel or ask the same questions again.

12. Know when to opt for a Slack call

Not every conversation is ideal for Slack, and sometimes you need to decide when to transition. Long messages can get confusing when you need to make collective decisions.

Ideally, you should leave Slack and hop on a call if:

  1. The conversation needs to discuss a complicated or controversial issue
  2. The topic of discussion is sensitive
  3. The conversation exceeds ideal message length

While there can be more situations where a call can be preferred, you need to draw a line and decide when to take this conversation off digital media and establish a connection through a call.

P.S — It’s always better to respect your co-worker and ask prior if you should take the discussion off messaging and hop on a call.

13. Avoid Slack in non-working hours

Everyone has their personal space when they’re away from work and enjoying their time.

With Slack, the pinging push notifications can seem unprofessional at odd hours, so try not to send messages until the next morning or till the weekend is over. Always make sure to check your team member’s available timings before you send a message.

Similarly, in order to maintain privacy, set up your own Snooze time. Slack gives you the option to pause notifications until you are available. Use this feature to let your teams know that you will not get notified for messages until the set time.

Take, for example, everyone in our team has a set timeline from when they are open to receiving messages, like 10.30 AM to 8.30 PM and so on. Set up your timeline using the Set a notification schedule option.

Use the Preferences panel that opens up next to set up when and how you want to receive Slack notifications.

Key Takeaways on Best Slack Tips and Tricks

While it’s necessary to stay connected with your co-workers and keep your team informed about your task status and updates, it’s necessary to be mindful of Slack etiquette. Implement the above Slack tips and tricks for smooth Slack communication with your teams.

And if you have any custom etiquette, tips, or practices to follow at your workplace, it’s always good to have documentation on what’s acceptable and what’s not. That way, you and your team have clarity on how to communicate on Slack.

Until then, Happy Slacking!

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