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Slack Etiquette: DOs and DON’Ts of Using Slack at Work

Are you someone who thinks about how to use Slack safely and effectively? Do questions like “Can I send a picture of my dog to my team?”, “Did they see my messages?”, “Can I send emojis?”, and “Should I send this text in a direct message or the team chat?” revolve in your mind? 

Well, you’re probably not alone, as most of us fear the chances of miscommunication when conversing through chats. It’s also very easy to blur the line between the personal and the professional. 

That’s why an organization should have official communication plans that dictate how employees communicate at work. 

Effective workplace communication via platforms like Slack and its alternatives is a skill that doesn’t necessarily come easily to everyone. But the good news is anyone can learn Slack etiquette at their own pace and time to use the communication platform optimally with our Slack etiquette guide.  

Understanding Slack Etiquette

Slack etiquette simply means following some unsaid rules and guidelines that can save you from the hassles of miscommunication, judgment, and clarification of intent while using the platform. It includes best practices for communication, collaboration, and community building within Slack teams and channels.

These unsaid rules will:

  • Make you look professional
  • Help you communicate better
  • Ensure you don’t make a mess in front of your team or, worse, your organization!
  • Maximize your productivity

We’ve put together some communication strategies and tips to enable productive team collaboration.

The Dos and Don’ts in Slack

Now that you know why we need to follow Slack etiquette, let’s understand some of the most important dos and don’ts of using Slack and check out some Slack etiquette tips.

Be direct with your messages

Do not start your direct messages on Slack with a “hey” or a “hello” without following it up with the intent of your message. Ensure you include the reason for your Slack messages in a crisp manner. 

Remember that the person you’re messaging might be focused on important work. A notification followed by a vague message can disrupt their flow and hinder their work. 

When messaging someone, you have to be mindful of their time. A quick message including what you need from them and the timeline is enough information for them to take action whenever they have the time. 

For example, instead of saying:

“Hey!” (1 second ago) “You there?” (1 second ago) 

and then vanishing till they respond, you can say,

“Hey, can you help me with a short product description for social media? I need to submit it by EOD today.”

Try to convey the crux within one Slack message instead of sending multiple messages. Use bullet points, bold text, italics, and numbers to make your message scannable.

Slack inbox
via Slack

Use public channels and threads for better workplace communication

Slack channels are a great medium for group conversations concerning a specific topic, department, event, or project. Use Slack channels to talk about specific topics and build a group repository of all the related information.

If you directly message a colleague for updates or doubts regarding a campaign that concerns more than the two of you, you’re giving way to multiple conversations about the same issue. 

You may miss important information and waste time clarifying the same doubt in that process. 

Instead, optimize team communication and send a Slack message on the specific Slack channel or Slack thread tagging the person you have a question for. This way, everybody on the project can learn about the progress, bottlenecks, or anything else related to the project.

In the long run, it will also be quicker to simply jump on the channel and search for any information you might need to continue on the project or look back after it is over to analyze results.

You can also push your teams to use public Slack channels to hold brainstorming sessions for any project, campaign, or event. Initiate the session by throwing an open-ended question in the channel and asking everyone to add their ideas in a thread. 

Replying within a thread declutters the channel and helps you maintain control of your workspace. With threads, you can create silos of information within a broader channel that will optimize your information bank. 

💡 Threads are the easiest way to maintain conversation flow and initiate collaboration. 

Acknowledge messages ASAP

Remote teams rely heavily on communication channels such as Slack, Teams, and Google Meet since they can’t meet in person to clarify doubts. So, even if you get a message when you’re busy, you can acknowledge it immediately. 

Acknowledging the message helps in building trust, especially in remote teams. It reassures the person that you have seen the message. 

It could be a simple “Noted. Will work on this in the afternoon.”

Use mentions mindfully

We understand that it is important to mention or tag someone over a communication platform to ensure the person you want to talk to sees your message. However, overusing the @everyone or @channel feature can be intrusive and send unnecessary notifications to other team members. Use these tags only when you want to address the whole channel. 

If you want a specific team member to respond to a one-on-one request, @mention only them in your message in that particular group so that they know it requires a response from them specifically. 

This will also ensure that other team members are aware of the issue, even if it doesn’t directly require a response from them. This feature is great, but only if used wisely.

For example, instead of writing a vague message on the channel, like:

“Can anyone help me with a doubt about the event?”

You can write:

“@amy @lee, can you help me with a question about the event or tell me who can help me with it?

Update your status and work timing

Slack notification
via Slack

Notification fatigue is real! That’s why you should respect your coworkers’ availability by checking their status before you reach out to them. Slack also provides the option to update your status. 

You can use this space to add your work timing, time zone, and OOO messages and update your team when you’re away, in focus mode, or in meetings. This way, if someone wants to reach you, they can be mindful that you aren’t available and can reach out to someone else for help or wait till you’re available. 

💡Good Slack etiquette isn’t only for others. You can maximize your productivity using the status feature to avoid getting spammed. When you have updated your availability, team members should not disturb you when you’re not available.

Don’t shy away from turning chats into meetings

According to the 55/38/7 formula, communication is 55% nonverbal, 38% vocal, and 7% words only. No matter how easy it is to talk over text, sometimes it’s efficient to have a video or a face-to-face meeting instead of typing endlessly or spamming the group while trying to explain something in detail.

People can connect better when they see each other’s body language, expressions, and gestures.

Performance reviews, appraisals, feedback sessions, training sessions, client reviews, etc. require a human touch that’s possible only with face-to-face meetings. Also, daily syncs for daily updates and scrum meetings must be in person or over a video call.

Refer to this rulebook we swear by for virtual team meeting etiquette and best practices for your next meeting.

Enhancing Team Communication with ClickUp and Slack

While so many apps do what Slack does, they barely come close to what it offers. On top of all of its handy features, the platform offers some of the best integrations within its platform to boost workplace collaboration.

For example, ClickUp’s Slack integration combines online collaboration and project management to make an all-in-one app. 

ClickUp Slack integration 
Combine the powers of project management and collaboration with the ClickUp Slack integration 

Put simply, with this integration, you can use Slack for project management!

ClickUp’s integration with Slack can also improve your team’s Slack etiquette by allowing you to create tasks and comments from messages! Simply type /ClickUp new from any Slack message to add them as tasks to ClickUp.

Slack Integration with ClickUp
Create and manage tasks on ClickUp with its Slack integration

You can send notifications about work status, new comments, updates, etc., directly on your Slack channel.  

With ClickUp’s Chat view feature, you can share updates, link resources, and seamlessly communicate with team members regarding various projects, without leaving the platform. 

You can streamline and declutter team communication with real-time chat channels. 

Add anyone to the conversation with @mentions and assign comments to keep your team moving on action items.

ClickUp’s Chat
Chat while working side-by-side with ClickUp’s Chat view

Communicate and Collaborate Better with Slack and ClickUp

Slack is a great tool that balances professional and personal conversations. That’s why it’s very easy to fall into informal communication habits that might hinder team productivity, make you look unprofessional, and lead to miscommunications. 

From clear messaging to using channels wisely, following these simple dos and don’ts of Slack etiquette should make your next experience with the app more fun and fruitful!

You can also consider setting smart communication goals within the organization to ensure that everyone gets their message across clearly and productively. 

The ClickUp–Slack combo offers a great advantage here! Combining the features of both these apps offers a straightforward way to enhance team communication and productivity. 

Try ClickUp today and unlock a new level of efficiency!

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