Slack — a team chat app

A simple introduction that might help you convince your coworkers about the benefits of Slack.


This is a simple introduction to Slack. I originally wrote this in danish to my own collegues trying to convince them of the benefits of Slack. Hopefully it will work and it might help you too. And sorry for the english. I blame Google Translate and bad education. You may leave a comment for any corrections.

What is Slack?

Slack is a team chat app. It works on three levels:

  • One-to-One
  • Private groups
  • All (#channels)

The purpose of Slack is to bring together internal communication and collaboration into one place. It makes communication more direct and transparent across the team.


Collaboration

Slack makes it easy to work together on documents, and can handle all the typical documents and files (word, pdf, jpg, google docs, zip, photoshop, etc.).

You can comment directly on the files, meaning you have all the right comments attached to the right files.

If you share a google docs it will automatically remain updated with the latest version.

Search

Slack indexes the contents of every files you share, thereby making them easy searchable. This means you can for instance search the contents of a Word document, PDF or Google Docs.

At the same time, you can search all conversations, and Slack displays them in the context which they where written in.


Chat

The core of Slack is the chat.

One to One

You have the opportunity to chat one-to-one with a colleague. Exactly like say Skype or Messenger.

Private groups

A group is a closed for specific members. A group could be Administration where all communications and collaboration concerning administration happens.

All (#channels)

Channels are open to everyone. They can be used to share infomation or discuss something that concerns everyone. However, you can subscribe and unsubscribe to individual channels according to relevance.

A channel could be #inspiration where team members share articles, videos, documents and more to inspire their coworkers.

A channel is also an obvious place to get notification from the “outside world”.


Notifications

Slack can be a sort of notification center for all the other services you use.

Examples of updates include:

Channels is an obvious place to assign notifications although you can assign it to private groups or yourself as well.

For instance you can have a channel called #socialmedia and get updates from Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest the like.

Slack integrates with a number of different service but using service like Zapier or IFTTT expands this number considerably.


Why Slack over email?

  • Conversations and documents in one place for al team members
  • You can work in groups, rather than in separate mails.
  • For your team only. You will not be “disturbed” by others
  • You can search the content of documents (word, pdf, powerpoint etc)
  • You can more easily avoid multiple versions of the same document
  • No spam
  • You can control what notifications you want and what infomation to get.
  • Slack is available as a native desktop application for Mac and PC and as app for iOS and Android

Where do we begin?

Depends on the size of your team and what you work with.

But always keep it simple! Here are a few suggestions:

1. The very simple

Leave Skype…Use Slack as your one-to-one chat. Nothing more.

2. The simple

With nr. 1 included

All team members use the #general channel for everything that involves all or most members.

3. The regular

With nr. 1 and 2 included

Create a new channel and assign notifications to it. It could be a #socialmedia channel with notification from Twitter or a #support channel for new conversations in HelpScout.


I didn’t suggest private groups because I think people will eventually create them themselves when needed.

So hopefullfy this can help you explain to your coworkers what Slack is and why you should use it.