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10+ Slack pro-tips for effective communication

January 15, 2022 | 3 Minute Read

Over the years I collected a bunch of tips for effective communication via Slack. Most of these are unique to this platform. The list may grow (or shrink) if I discover new tips. Of course, your mileage may vary. Enjoy!

1. Navigation

To quickly navigate between channels, hit ⌘ + K or Ctrl + K (on Windows). ⌘ + . (dot) is useful to show/hide the right sidebar. Searching is faster when choosing acronyms, e.g. type tfb for team-foo-bar.

2. Bookmarks

Channels have:

  • topics
  • description
  • pinned messages
  • …and a bar with bookmarks.

Bookmarks are especially useful. You can put links to important documents, JIRA boards, etc.

3. Don’t use @channel

Don’t use @channel unless you want to alarm everyone in the channel, including people out-of-office.

4. Use threads

Threads allow multiple chats happening simultaneously on one channel, but don’t notify people who are not interested in this particular discussion. You can subscribe/unsubscribe from a thread.

5. Reply in threads as well as in channel

Replying in a thread, but also sending to a channel (tick checkbox) makes everyone see your response in a context. Otherwise, it may be confusing what are you actually replying to. But without sending also to channel, your message may get lost.

Use this checkbox if you are reviving an old thread or your response may be relevant to everyone, not just people involved in that thread.

6. Sending with delay

You can send messages to people or channels with a delay, for example the next day. It’s an alternative to reminders. Use it if you are working late hours and don’t want to bother your colleagues. Check out the small drop-down menu next to send button

7. Use reminders

Use reminders to notify yourself, someone, or whole channel some time in the future, once or periodically.

See:

/remind #general "Are you coming to the office tomorrow?" at 14:30 every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

Hyperlinks to messages are very powerful. You can go directly to the discussion, see it in context, etc. Outsiders can’t access links to private channels and DMs.

9. Prefer channels over private 1-on-1

Unless it’s really… private. Chances are someone else will join the discussion. Also you can later search and link to messages.

10. Consider having a personal, public channel

Consider every team meber having a public #john-smith-office (or #john-smith-cubicle) channel, especially managers. Your teammates can ask you non-confidential questions, that can later be browsed by everyone. It’s like building an FAQ of your personal knowledge.

See also: twitter.com/ahidalgosre/status/1486442877425266688.

S in Slack stands for “searchable” (!). Learn “from:”, “in:” and other prefixes when searching. Also, you can search by time, etc.

12. Send e-mails to channels

Each Slack channel has a unique e-mail address. Messages sent to that address appear in that channel

13. Watch out for emoji reactions 👍

They are cool. But Slack does not send a clear notification when someone likes your message. If your response is important, send a tiny “👍” message in a thread. Do not rely on reaction being noticed.

Tags: slack

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