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Cover image for If You Use Slack, Read This

If You Use Slack, Read This

walkingriver profile image Michael D. Callaghan ・2 min read

Slack is quickly becoming a de facto standard of corporate communications. I have scores of channels open across 8 Slack work spaces open on a regular basis. It can get overwhelming.

No one asked me, but I put together a few hints for using Slack most effectively in channels with large numbers of subscribers. Feel free to comment/argue below as you see fit.

In any heavily-subscribed channel, there could be dozens of messages flying around, and these tips will help keep everyone organized.

For these tips, I am assuming the mobile version of Slack.

  1. If you simply want to acknowledge a message with a "thanks," "me too", "+1", or anything like that, you can do that without cluttering up the message with a bunch of one-word replies. Tap the message text. On the screen that appears, tap the . . . button and choose the appropriate emoji.

  2. To reply to a message, use threads. Tap the message text. On the screen that appears, tap "Start a thread" if you are the first to reply. Otherwise, the thread replies will be displayed below the first message. In the latter case, simply type your reply in the "Add a reply" field at the bottom of the screen. There is a checkbox at the bottom of the screen labeled, "Also send to {channel}". Try not to use that, as it will also clutter up the main channel traffic.

  3. To send a direct message to someone from the channel, tap their name or image, and then tap the "Message" button. This will let you send a private message to that individual. You can also initiate a voice call from the same screen, though that may not be as reliable.

  4. You can tag specific individuals in messages and replies by typing @ followed by their Slack name.

  5. Unless you are one of the leaders or owners of the channel, please do not use @here or @channel in your messages, as that will alert everyone.

  6. A corollary to the above: in your notification settings for any channel you can choose to mute @here and @channel notifications entirely.

Summary

Communicating effectively in large groups requires diligence and discipline. Following the simple rules above will make discussions easier to follow and understand.

Have any tips of your own? Please feel free to comment below.

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walkingriver profile

Michael D. Callaghan

@walkingriver

I help make cool web apps at Walt Disney World. P/T author and video course producer. Author of http://dontsaythatat.work, a book on professional communication mistakes.

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