Tips and Tricks

Slack is more than chat — and here's why

Slack may seem like another chat app – until you take a closer look. Designed for teams and workplaces, Slack enables colleagues to not only chat but to collaborate, simply and efficiently.

In Slack, most communication happens in channels, which are like chat rooms arranged around a topic or a team. If you want to have a conversation outside of a channel, you can also direct message one or more people.

Channels are either public or private. Everyone can see information in public channels; they're a good place to post an announcement or share a news item. Private channels are where you go to share information with a smaller group. Only the people who are invited to join can post or view communication in a private channel.

The great thing about channels is that they're simple to use. You or anyone else on your team can create a new one. Starting a new project and want to stay updated? Make a new channel and invite others working with on the project to join. You — and your project colleagues  will be able to check on what’s happening, ask questions, and offer input without using email.

Add more to your messages

Within a channel or direct chat, Slack lets you upload and share files. You can also cut and paste links to files that you’ve uploaded to another file sharing platform. Need to move beyond chat? With the click of a button, you can initiate a voice or video call and share your desktop screen in Slack.

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. For those times, Slack offers you the option of adding emojis to your message. You can use also reaction emoji to show appreciation for someone else's message. These are similar to a "like" button but more expressive.

Store knowledge and historical data

Everything that's posted is saved in Slack. Retrieving information is easy because search is one of Slack's best features.  You can search for messages from specific people, search by date, or use other modifiers. Slack’s searchable archive is available to colleagues on your team today, and those who join next week, next month, or even next year.  By reviewing a channel’s content, new team members can get up to speed quickly.

Customize the tool for how you work

There are many options to customize Slack for the way you like to work. You can choose how your messages and channels are displayed and star favorites, set up how you want to be notified when new messages are posted, and set reminders. You can set your status so others know if you’re available and turn on Do Not Disturb mode if you need to.

And Slack lets other software you use to post messages in channels. Does your team use Trello to manage projects? Get alerts in Slack about activity in your Trello board – you’ll save time by not having to check Trello regularly to keep on top of updates there.  When it comes to integrating other tools in Slack, there are numerous apps for you to choose from!

Getting started is easy

Using Slack is the best way to really understand what it’s all about. The more you use it, the more features you’ll discover. If you’re ready to give Slack a try, visit IRT's Slack webpage to get started. If your group wants to collaborate on Slack, submit a Slack Help ticket to request a consultation from one of IRT's Slack experts. Just remember that Slack isn’t approved for PHI or other high risk data.  If you need a HIPAA-compliant messaging system for iOS and Android devices, you may want to use Spok Mobile as an alternative to Slack.