When you’re working, you’re probably bombarded by lots of different communication. Some companies adore email, some workplaces prefer Skype, others might lean toward internal IM platforms. It’s a big mess.
How do you tie those all together?
Welcome to Slack – a group chat platform that brings large teams together in a central meeting point, allowing trackable communications through a single medium.
You might already use Slack in your organization. But you may only be scratching the surface of the platform’s actual capacity.
So we present to you: ten cool ways that people are using Slack.
10 cool ways people are using Slack
1. Set reminders
There’s no point in having an integrated messaging system if you need to rely on another application to help you keep track of your daily tasks.
Slack has a simple reminder tool which is activated by typing
in the chat field.
The reminder message follows this structure:
/remind <me/person/group> at <time> to <task>
You can “remind me” or “remind Jamie Smith.”
If you’ve set up Channels, you can remind entire Channels using their hashtag, as in the image above. You’ll receive the reminder via email or the downloadable app on your mobile device or desktop.
This is a great feature that helps to keep the team and your work diary in one place: perfectly synced and integrated.
2. Quick text edit
When conversations are moving fast, we all make the odd typo.
Editing of any previous message is simple to initiate. Just press the UP cursor when the chat field is active, and your message pops up, allowing you to edit the text. Scroll up and down to edit historical messages.
3. Using stars to create a to-do list
Every message sent through Slack can be manually “starred” by clicking the grey star symbol next to the time and date of the message. It’s basically like a bookmark for you to access later. When you click the star, it turns yellow.
This is a useful feature if someone has asked you to complete a task, or if you need to remind yourself of a specific piece of information.
All of your starred messages are then accessed via the Star button at the top of the feed.
Clicking the Star button reveals the messages you have manually starred, providing an instant “to-do” list.
4. Search modifiers
When you have hundreds of conversation threads, it can be difficult to find specific messages.
Perhaps you remember asking a colleague to complete a task, but can’t remember whether it was to email a document, or print a document.
You could spend hours trawling through many message threads to find the right message, or you could use a search modifier.
You can use the following search modifiers:
- The from: modifier allows you to find messages from specific users, by their @username, or by full name.
- The in: modifier enables you to search through specific Channels. The list of available channels instantly appears.
- The has: modifier permits you to find starred (has:star) and pinned (has:pin) messages, as well as those that contain links or an emoji reaction.
5. Filter your notifications
One of the problems with group chat is that everyone in a Channel receives a notification every time someone adds a new message to that Channel.
This is great if you want to update people, but can be distracting if your messenger is constantly pinging at you.
The Notifications settings allow you to control how often you’re alerted.
You can choose to control notifications in a variety of ways:
- All new messages: You’ll receive a notification every time a new message is sent.
- Direct messages, mentions & keywords: This is a powerful feature, allowing you to filter the general noise of a conversation, and receive notifications only if a teammate mentions you via your @username, sends you a direct message, or uses one of your specified keywords.
- Nothing: This means that you receive no notifications
- My keywords: This filter allows you to choose notifications when specific words are used in a conversation. You define those keywords manually.
If you’re working on a project that requires your input whenever someone mentions “Task 2,” then Slack will let you know whenever “Task 2” is mentioned.
Additionally, you can set Do Not Disturb periods, and define where you receive a notification if you’re not active on your desktop, with the choice to receive an email or a message to a mobile device.
6. Create your own customer Emojis
Although work is serious stuff, there’s always some room for a bit of fun, and Slack’s funky custom emoji function is a great way to bring a team together.
Anyone in your Slack team can create their own custom emojis (if your administrator doesn’t forbid it). Why not set up an emoji of each team member making a funny face?
You access your emoji using the :name: command.
Click this link to create your emojis.
7. Customize your loading message
There are lots of quirky ways to express your personality within Slack that can help to bring the team together.
The default “loading message” when your users log in to Slack can be customized with an interesting fact, a piece of random trivia, a reminder for a deadline, or a joke.
To do this, you’ll need admin credentials, but click here, select Loading Messages, and type what you want under Add a custom loading message. Click Add Message to save your masterpiece.
8. Add apps
Slack becomes super-charged when you integrate other apps. You can facilitate file sharing by connecting Slack to Dropbox and Google Drive; add fun gifs; integrate with Google+ Hangouts and Google Calendar; even run a poll. And you can even integrate communications between teams with Asana or Trello.
Here are some of our favorite add-on apps.
By using the command
followed by a phrase – in this case, /giphy love – you can send fun gifs that spread some appreciation or share successes. Hit the shuffle button until you find just the right gif.
Dropbox is an excellent file sharing application that integrates perfectly into Slack.
Press the + sign next to the Chat field, choose Add file from a Cloud Service, and choose Dropbox.
Once you’ve chosen your file, you can add a message and send it to specific Channels or individuals.
Simple, neat, and quick.
Google Calendar is a great team tool, and using it in Slack allows everyone access to group and personal schedules. Book meetings directly through Slack, and you’re efficiently integrating your messages, your file sharing, and your meeting diary on the same platform.
Donut helps your team to bond by introducing people who don’t know each other yet, encouraging them to meet up for coffee, lunch.
9. Kick people out!
You can throw people out of a Channel if they’re disruptive, or if they’re annoying you! Simply use the command:
and before you know it, they’ve disappeared from the thread.
10. Set up ChatBots
Perhaps you get asked the same question time and time again?
Or maybe your team works across several different time zones and they need a quick way of checking the time in your San Francisco office?
You need a chatbot.
Some of them, such as Hubot, can be a little complicated to set up, but once they’re up and running, they can make repetitive tasks really simple.
TimeLord is designed for teams working in differing time zones – and can confirm the time across the zones that you’ve assigned.
Once you’ve set it up, just type in an assigned hashtag into the Chat field, and the correct time at your various offices will magically appear.
So, there you have it.
Now it’s time for you to turbo-charge Slack for your team. Use Slack to set reminders, as a quick text editor, to create to-do lists, use search modifiers, deploy bots and more. Incorporate these tips into your workplace and reap the benefits of a truly unified workforce. Do you have any great Slack hacks? let us know in the comments.