As the open-office of communication tools, Slack lets teams communicate in a non-clunky way, have better transparency, and plenty of other good stuff. Some users complain, that, like in an open office, things get a little loud.
But Slack listens and iterates heavily around user feedback (high five, Slack), so they’ve built in a bunch of super useful tools, shortcuts and settings so that people can buckle down and do their best work. Below are some of the most useful—from the basics to workflow suggestions for you to pick from.
Use shortcuts to get where you need to go:
- Use the quick switcher to jump between conversations and messages quickly.
- Copy the link to an old message you'd like to reference again.
- See all the places you've been mentioned at once, which is surprisingly helpful.
- Use search to find old documents and messages. Slack's search is really powerful.
- Use a slash command right in Slack for fast shortcuts. You can see a full list here, or create your own but these are some of the most useful.
- /away sets you as away, to get a little quiet time
- /collapse collapses all the attachments in a channel
- /mute keeps you as active, but silences notifications in a given channel
Format for better clarity
- Sometimes, you'll want to add a little emphasis to your message, so Slack lets you format in DMs, groups, and channels. Here's how it's done:
- Bold: ** around the text you want bolded
- Italics: _ _ around the text you want to make italic
- Strikethrough: ~~ around the text you want a strikethrough
- Indent: > to indent a line
Declutter and simplify
- Use emoji reactions on messages to cut down on the clutter of ten different versions of "sounds good". You can even create custom emojis, if you are so inclined.
- Edit a message you already sent by just pressing the up arrow, rather than sending a correction message.
- For longer posts, you can upload a file you've already created, or a 'Post' (like a little notepad right in Slack) rather than type an essay into the channel.
Stay focused when you need to:
- Use do not disturb or snooze your notifications for a while
- Set your default notification and do not disturb hours
- Add highlighted words that you'll be notified about, just like if your name was mentioned.
- Manage notification preferences by channel
- Use that handy /mute shortcut, (or just leave the channel all together)
- Help others focus too: message everyone who’s online when something is urgent, by using @here or when necessary, the entire @channel or @group
Improve your workflows:
- Use the voice calling features (currently in beta for desktop and iOS) and keep an eye out for video—launching in the future. (Note: An admin has to enable it)
- Use Slack to drop pre-meeting updates in the hour before you meet, so everyone is ready to discuss.
Use channels strategically:
- DM with multiple people at once, when a whole channel doesn't need to discuss something
- Create an ‘Urgent’ channel, if it makes sense for your business: Enable notifications for any activity—but be warned, this means notifications for everything in that channel.
- Some teams create a non-urgent channel, for things they can eventually check out, but there's no rush.
- Remember that channels don't have to be permanent. Create a channel for a project, and archive it when you're done.
- Have a channel for break room, because cat videos happen sometimes.
- Make a channel for the office-related announcements, if you have remote workers, too.
- Dedicate a channel that's just for brainstorming.
- Use Talla to take care of your busywork, right in Slack. We're rolling out in private beta, so get on the waitlist.