As an independent marketing and communications consultant, I work with a wide variety of clients, from nonprofits of all sizes, to agencies, to training companies.
Lately, when we begin working together, figuring out how we’ll communicate and manage communications and projects, I inquire, “Do you email? Or Slack.”
I’ve used Basecamp, Asana and Trello. Skype and Google Hangouts and Facebook Messenger. Google Drive, Dropbox, Box and Microsoft OneDrive.
The tool I love above all is Slack. Oh please, dear team, use Slack!
At its heart Slack is an online chat tool for teams. But oh, it’s so much more. For this Gen Xer, it’s all the good of email (remember when it wasn’t such a weight?), coupled with the speed of text and instant message (IM), integrated with so many of the tools you already use like Google Calendar, Google Drive, SurveyMonkey, HelloSign, and of course, Giphy.
Why did I pull the Gen X card here? Not long ago, Slack seemed some fancy communicating tool for millennials, who simply don’t like email (with good reason). I chafed. I already used email and chat just fine, thank you.
It took me two days of using Slack to convert to a fan.
As fellow nonprofiteer Alex Field writes here in this Medium article, Slack opened the floodgates of communication.
Slack is free to try and reasonable to scale.
1. Slack Organizes Communications In Channels
Email is organized by time, though you can search and sort by date, subject line, sender, etc. Slack is organized by channels that you create. Think folders, but hella smarter, faster, flexible and team-friendly.
2. Less Email. Fewer Meetings. More Slack.
I love how Scott Rosenberg puts it this BackChannel piece:
For a generation, most office work has happened in two venues: meetings and email. Slack maps a route around both of these time-sucking maelstroms.
Raise your hand of you’d like less work email!
3. Slack Works Effortlessly Across Devices
Desktop, browser, mobile – Slack allows you to move seamlessly between them.
4. Slack Unites Remote Teams
I’ve been working from home for over 10 years. Sometimes I miss water cooler talk and chit chat. Socializing, mixing up ideas and energies…I get a little bit of that back with Slack. Slack’s design is also a little whimsical and self-deprecating, like a good officemate!
5. Slack Captures Institutional Knowledge
Imagine starting a new gig and having a searchable window into the institutional knowledge and team conversations for your new project. Just dive into the channel, or search across channels, to unearth decision-making, brainstorms, documentation and thought processes.
Who worked on that graphic last time? Look in Slack. Why did we decide to launch the match on this day? Look in Slack.
6. Slack Encourages Communications Across Silos
While the bulk of my work in Slack is done in project-based channels, I truly enjoy pulling in people across the spectrum to handle a private, quick task. Try doing this by phone, email or text — it’s super slow, or it just doesn’t happen.
7. Slack Works With A Lot of the Apps YOU Work With
I’ve been using Google Drive a lot lately. Slack integrates beautifully with it, speeding review and approval times for copy and planning docs. Slack actually has tons of integrations, from communications and design to payment and accounting, security, HR and customer support.
Check out the Slack App Directory for ideas.
Need More Convincing?
You use Slack? Share your experiences in the comments section.