Slack Instant Messaging - The Basics | Part 2

Jeff Herbert | Web Consultant

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Our prior post Slack Instant Messaging - The Basics | Part 1 summarised these topics from Four Pi’s Facebook Live Video discussing Slack Basics and how the instant messaging platform can boost team productivity and revolutionise your business communications:

  • Introduction To Slack
  • Slack’s Instant Chat
  • The Speed of Slack
  • Slack’s Pricing Models
  • Why Slack is a Successful Platform

Slack is the instant messaging platform used by the Four Pi team of digital managers, website developers, app developers and graphic designers for all their instant message communication requirements.

Four Pi CEO, Chris Long, has been working remotely for 10 years and has built a successful remote-first business - so he knows a thing or two about the best team productivity software and technology for remote teams, local teams and travelling team members.

We’ll continue to recap the points Chris Long discussed in Four Pi’s Facebook Live Video, the basics of the Slack instant messaging app, and take a look at questions from viewers on how instant messaging can boost team productivity - for all industries.

Slack: The Basics | Remote Teams & Local Teams

Stay connected with everyone in the business at all times.

You can utilise the benefits of Slack across all business types - in-office teams, local teams, teams with multiple locations, remote workers and communicate live with workers on the road who provide services or travel between meetings.

Remote team productivity. Having been a remote-first digital agency for 10+ years, Four Pi willingly endorse the benefits Slack adds to their team. Since our designers and developers aren’t in the same location it’s critical to send live communications between each other.

Local team productivity. Slack can boost productivity for on-site workers. Send files immediately between each other. Get a group conversation going. Don’t disrupt other colleagues by having verbal conversations when you only need a quick answer. Send minor status updates without disrupting work-flows.

Slack: The Basics | Don’t Replace Emails

Slack shouldn’t replace your emails - it should enhance them. Slack is excellent for most of your team's internal communication so you can retain your emails strictly for customers, external stakeholders and other types of business communications.

Customers and Stakeholders. As a business, employee or business owner, you will need to interact with people external to your team. A best-practice is to keep those customer communications exclusively to emails - they certainly don’t need an instant messenger channel directly to you.

Long form content is NOT for Slack. Users can send as many paragraphs of text via Slack as they want - but they probably shouldn’t because nobody wants to read bulk text in an instant message platform. Detailed communications should be sent via email.

If you’re trying to collaborate on documents don’t use Slack to send bulk content. A more effective way is using cloud-based documents such as Google Docs or Google Sheets so you can collaborate within the file together at the same time. Quickly sharing the link via Slack is an excellent example.

Legal disputes. Emails are well recognised within the legal system and can hold up during legal disputes. Though you do have records of your Slack instant messages (with the correct Slack pricing plan) the may not be legally perceived like an email would.

Slack is inclined towards casual conversation and quick details - keep the official business to email.

Slack: The Basics | Succeeding With Slack

When implementing Slack into the workplace we strongly recommend highlighting some Slack best practices amongst your team. Four Pi employees abide by a few major best practices which streamlines workflows and boosts team productivity.

Keep it short. Keep your message short and give them context - don’t send a vague message without referencing a particular topic, customer or project.

Long form conversation. Keep the long form conversation to email, phone, video chat, in-person or in-document collaboration. Use Slack to set meetings, enquire about staff availability and organising a meeting time to avoid disrupting workflows (yours and theirs!).

Slack cloud storage - move documents between locations easily. We’ve all had the need to move documents from one computer to another and thankfully Slack makes it quick and easy. You can even send yourself a document in chat to retrieve on another computer, phone or device.

Slack search tool. Slack has a great search tool allowing you to recall past conversations, discussion points and important pieces of information and documents. Having said that, it’s not a file management tool which should keep it to referring to file locations and transferring files.

Slack: The Basics | 3 x Slack Pro Tips

Four Pi’s team of full time Australian remote workers have been using Slack for years and a reason behind their success is the Slack protocols making it time efficient and simple.

‘Don’t brain dump in my Slack’. Don’t spam 8 lines messages one after the other. Don’t fill the screen full of text. Keep Slack instant messages short, to the point and contextual.

If you have a large amount of text to send then keep it to email and follow up with a short message on Slack informing the recipients you’ve sent bulk details of a topic in an email.

Manage your Slack notifications: Mute channels and leave Mentions on. A great feature of Slack is the ability to mute notifications, set work statuses, operational hours and more.

If you need to focus on a task then you have the ability to turn off general notifications.

Slack also has the feature to turn off general notifications but allows urgent notifications - these are done by direct mentions.

Utilise quick tools for reactions and acknowledgements. Slack is a fast service already, but to use reactions, statuses and emoji’s will let you communicate even quicker. If a colleague sends a chat, document, request, etc… You have the ability to add a reaction to their message - you don’t even need to reply with text, two clicks is all it takes to effectively communicate with a team member.

✔️ - Done / Received

❓ - In Progress / More Info Required

❌ - Not Ready / Do Not Proceed

Slack: The Basics | Viewer Questions

Below is a summary of viewer questions about Slack that were asked during the Facebook Live Video.

How does Slack compare to other chat platforms?

✔️ Easier to implement in small and medium sized teams

✔️ Can integrate to other platforms

Was it hard to setup Slack?

✔️ Super easy to setup

✔️ Quick for new employees to join

Managing Slack notifications

✔️ Avoid disrupting work flows

✔️ Use the built in features

✔️ Manage notification through the settings

Can you see when people read your Slack message?

✔️ No - which can be a great thing

✔️ Can utilise reactions and emojis as an acknowledgement

✔️ Come back to messages and unread messages later

What do I get from Slack that I don't get from email?

✔️ Leverage emojis

✔️ Instant gratification

❌ Legal perception - Email is better for official matters

In summary, Slack is loaded with features, integration capabilities and team workspaces that can massively reduce your teams reliance on slow email systems and enable live conversations between individuals and groups, send attachments, set reminders, share information and enhance company wide communications.

Slack can boost your teams productivity and improve company-wide communications.

Need a consult about incorporating Slack into your business? We’d be happy to chat - https://4pi.com.au/contact

This videos above are clips from a Facebook Live on the Four Pi Web & App Development Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/4piweb

Full Slack | The Basics video playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZrl9Ih8iMdzRVy5W4sJKtO7_PkKz1vRK

For more remote working tips and guidance you can follow the official Four Pi Web & App Development channels:

Web: https://4pi.com.au

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/4piweb

Instagram: https://instagram.com/4piweb

Twitter: https://twitter.com/4piweb

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/4pi-web-and-app-development

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