If 18 months ago you had told me that my team would no longer need email, text messaging, or instant messaging to communicate with each other, I would have thought you were crazy. No IM, maybe. But no email and text? No way. Yet here we are, with no need of those tools anymore. And it’s all because of Slack.
In this post I’ll explain what Slack is and how my team uses it. Then I’ll share 5 reasons why I recommend it for your team, too.
Background on Slack
Slack is a cloud-based communication tool. It allows teams or other small groups to communicate with each other, typically by sending short messages to the whole group, subsets of the group, or individuals in the group.
Take my team’s use of Slack, for instance. There are 7 of us on the team. Within Slack, we have a number of “channels” of communication. One is a “general” channel. We are all members of that channel. Any messages we post there are received by all 7 of us.
Other channels are for projects that only involve a subset of the members of our team. Only those members of our team involved in that project are on that channel. Only they receive messages shared on that channel.
Finally, there is a private channel between each of the members of the team for direct messaging one another.
5 Reasons to Use Slack
1. More Succinct than Email
Slack has greatly reduced the number of emails my team sends one another. Productivity guru Michael Hyatt calculates that his team’s implementation of Slack reduced his email by 83% in less than a week.
Even more importantly, messages sent in Slack tend to be shorter than messages sent by email. A random sample of 30 emails my team sent before Slack vs. a random sample of 30 messages we’ve sent via Slack shows that the Slack messages contained, on average, 73% fewer words than the emails.
I think we use fewer words in Slack messages because Slack is less formal than email. Whatever the reason, using Slack saves my team time because there are just fewer words to digest.
2. Easier to Reply to than Text Messages
When you receive a text message on your phone, it’s easy enough to reply if your response is short.
But there isn’t an easy way to reply if your response is somewhat long. It’s clumsy to peck out a long reply on your phone. Even replying by voice dictation, though very helpful in this regard, is still cumbersome due to the number of corrections you often have to make to voice dictation mistakes.
With Slack, you can often avoid these problems. That’s because when a message comes in, you receive it not only on your phone’s Slack app but on your computer as well. As a result, you can reply to messages very efficiently using your computer’s keyboard.
3. Like Instant Message, but Works Well on Your Phone
In my experience, instant message clients tend to work well on computers but poorly on phones.
With Slack, however, the experience is good (and almost identical) on computers and phones alike.
4. Replaces Email, Text Messaging, and IM within Teams
Due largely to the three foregoing considerations, my team no longer needs email, text messaging, or IM to communicate with one another.
We still use email with those outside our team, but rarely within our team. We tend to text within the team only when a message is urgent and team members don’t reply immediately to a Slack message. Slack has fully replaced IM within our team.
5. Robust Search Capabilities
“Slack” is an acronym which stands for “searchable log of all conversation and knowledge.” As the acronym suggests, all messages sent within your Slack group are searchable for easy retrieval. The free version of Slack (which is what my team uses) saves—and therefore allows you to search—up to 10,000 of your team’s most recent messages.
You may be accustomed to search functionality within your email and IM clients, but probably not within text messaging. The real power of search within Slack comes when you replace email, IM, and text messaging with Slack. When you do that, querying within Slack allows you to search what amounts to all of your team’s communication. That’s obviously a very efficient way to retrieve a conversation.
How to Get up and Running on Slack Quickly
Those new to Slack sometimes find the install and set up confusing. I created a step-by-step guide to help you quickly create an account and install it on your computer and phone. Get my free quickstart guide here:
Given my use of email, text messaging, and IM, the last thing I was interested in was another communication tool. But I love productivity, and leaders in that area that I trust—like Michael Hyatt—recommended Slack. So I invited my team to give it a try. After a month, we weren’t sure we liked it. After another month, there was no turning back.
Question: If you’ve used Slack, what do you think of it? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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