Slack is an outstanding messaging platform. If used right, it works perfectly for remote teams distributed across time zones.
The sad truth is that most teams misuse Slack messaging and, as a consequence, face distractions, work anxiety, and productivity loss.
Do you want your team to benefit from Slack? Create a Slack writing etiquette guide. Here are a few tips on how to do it right.
What are the key issues with using Slack as a messaging platform?
First of all, let’s figure out what mistakes teams make when using Slack.
Basically, there are two issues:
- Messages lack context
- Team members see Slack as a synchronous tool
Messages lack context
Let’s face it. Electronic messaging is a vile and dangerous medium of communication.
No context. No non-verbal signs. No emotion. The risk of misinterpretation and skewed perception in Slack is huge.
If team members fail to provide necessary context in long emails, it’s not a big surprise that they fail to do it in short messages.
Team members see Slack as a synchronous tool
Now let’s talk about why Slack shouldn’t be seen as a synchronous communication tool like Facebook Messenger.
If your team members consider Slack as a synchronous communication tool, the chances are they suffer from constant interruption and distraction. For them, the use of Slack is associated with high stress levels, a sense of implied urgency, and an implied 24/7 availability.
On top of that, the ineffective use of Slack promotes shallow work. Paying too much attention to messages, team members complete tasks half-distractedly. As a result, the work quality decreases drastically.
How can these problems be solved?
To solve this problem, you should design a Slack Writing Etiquette Guide and encourage team members to read it and to use it.
Provide a clear channel description
Each channel must be used for discussion of one specific topic and must serve a definite purpose.
Once you create a new channel, you should write a short, yet detailed description. You should make it clear for team members what subjects they can and can’t discuss in each channel.
Follow the golden rule: think before you write
How to make Slack messaging more effective? Try to articulate your thoughts before putting them down.
Pretty often, Slack conversations look like this:
10:40 AM Hi Alex!
10:40 AM I want to ask you a question.
10:41 AM Can you send me the pie charts you used in your presentation this Monday?
10:42 AM I mean… I’m looking for the target market template with a pie chart. Can you share it with me?
Have you ever received such kind of messages? They are annoying, aren’t they?
Ask team members to formulate their ideas more clearly and craft “proper” messages similar to this one:
10:40 AM Hi Alex! I’m designing a new presentation and looking for the target market template with the pie chart (that template that you have shown us on Monday). Could you please send it to me before 4 PM?
Know the difference between @channel and @here
Does your team know in which cases to use @channel and @here?
There is one big difference between these two things. When you are using @channel, the system sends notifications to everyone who isn’t active at the moment. When you are using @here, the system works differently – it notifies only those team members who are active at the moment.
Basically, you should use @channel for emergencies and important channel-wide announcements and @here for reporting non-urgent updates. That will allow you to minimize the number of distracting notifications and avoid interruptions.
Create a non-work channel
Naturally, your team members want to discuss topics that do not relate to work. So why don’t you provide them with such an opportunity?
Create one or a few just-for-fun channels and let your team enjoy pleasant conversations. Do it to create a friendly work environment and improve employee satisfaction.
Use emojis wisely
When it comes to electronic messaging, emojis come in handy. They help to enhance the message formatting and add context to conversations.
Arizona Wilson, an editor from BestEssaysEducation and SupremeDissertations, the writing websites, says:
“Encourage your team members to use positive emojis like thumbs up, smiley face, OK hands sign, party popper to cheer each other up. For instance, if one team member has completed a big challenging task, send him a “good job” emoji. That’s a simple way to make teammates feel valued.”
Promote asynchronous communication
As we have already mentioned, when Slack is used as a synchronous communication tool, it brings more harm than good.
For this reason, it will be a wise idea to set expectations with your teammates and explain that it is OK not to be available 24/7. If you establish long uninterrupted stretches of time to focus on work, you will boost your team’s productivity and achieve outstanding results.
Use threads to organize discussions
Threads are designed to discuss topics in detail without adding clutter to a conversation’s main view. Threads help to make discussions easier to navigate and simplify the communication process.
The main benefit of threads is that they allow users to minimize unwanted notifications. Only those team members who have contributed or who have followed the thread will get notifications regarding replies.
Take advantage of proofreading tools
Typing messages fast, some employees make a bunch of spelling mistakes and typos. And that has a negative impact on online communication.
Melanie Thomas, an editor, and writer from GrabMyEssay and TopEssayWriting has this to say about the importance of proofreading:
“When risks of message misinterpretation are too high, bad grammar is not allowed. You should encourage your teammates to use proofreading tools like Grammarcheck to improve the quality of their writing. The fewer grammar mistakes team members will make, the better they will understand each other.”
Use Slack for ephemeral conversations
Slack is a perfect platform for ephemeral conversations – conversations that don’t have to be preserved for future reflection or action. So if your teammates want to discuss quick website tweaks or similar questions – encourage them to use Slack.
However, when it comes to non-ephemeral conversations, for instance, discussion of strategic decisions, Slack is not a suitable platform.
Since Slack is used on a daily basis, important information can “get lost in the crowd.” You should explain to your team that they should discuss critical issues and share big and important files via emails or other platforms rather than Slack.
Wrapping it up
Using Slack, your team can get your company to the next level.
Misusing Slack, your team can lead your company to failure.
The results will depend on whether you create a Slack Writing Etiquette for the workplace and encourage employees to use it.
We highly suggest you follow the Slack tips given and craft a comprehensive guide.
Effective communication in the workplace is the key to success so that you can expect that this guide will become a game-changer for your business.