Work, Talk & Share with your team in real time with Slack

Posted September 7th, 2015 in Communications. Tagged: , , , , , , .

If you’ve ever managed or been a part of a large team, you know how irritating it can be to wait for formalities like an approval to arrive in your mailbox before you can technically proceed. Similarly in the case of reports, even after you’ve just had a presentation or discussion within your team regarding results, you need to make it formal by typing a lengthy email with a report attached and send it to everyone on your mailing list; too cumbersome and frankly unnecessary if you ask us. It would all be much simpler if there could be something more informal and personalized that could be whipped up and shared quickly eliminating all time and technical constraints.

The good news is that a great app called Slack allows you to do just that!

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Slack – Real time messaging for corporate teams!

As much as it sounds like just another messaging app, it’s actually not. This app is designed specifically for professionals who wish to make inter-team communication better and simpler. With just the right mix of messaging-app glamour and corporate professionalism, this application is well on the track to become the next big thing.

Slack brings together so much in such a light look-and-feel that you’ll have a hard time initially to sink so much in. You can find something from most social platforms here – a little bit of WhatsApp (messaging groups, image sharing), pinch of Twitter (tag based topic search, referring people through @ tag) and more.

Some great features of Slack include:

1. Group conversations

Create channels (or more commonly called groups) within the team or with only a bunch of people specific to a task and communicate with them from anywhere at any time without having to be restricted to VPNs or emailing formalities. Add that personal touch through one-to-one private messages in case of sensitive matters. You can choose to create channels based on projects, teams or even a topic.

2. Share files

Get over traditional email attachments; drag-and-drop is the way to go with Slack. Just drag a document, screenshot or report in a group to share it with all participants instantly, without having to wait for them to check their email. You can even share presentations or videos through Slack and get immediate feedback and comments on it to start a discussion. Moreover, if you use services like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Box, just paste the link and that document is immediately in sync and searchable too.

3. Easy, extensive search

Slack makes searching for items easy. Just type in what you wish to search in the search box and whether it is a conversation, an item or a person, everything will be searched within milliseconds and you’ll see the results before you in a flash. Slack automatically indexes and archives stuff to make this possible.

4. Stay synced

If you frequently switch machines or platforms, you needn’t get into complications like exporting items or converting mailboxes. Slack being an online tool lets you stay in sync whether you work from your PC or your Smartphone so you can pick up exactly from where you left.

5. Custom notifications

Slack makes sure you never miss a thing or even be late in noticing. With custom notifications, you can make sure your phone or PC beeps every time you’re mentioned or an item is shared with you. Or if you prefer to not be disturbed, you can set that too.

6. Secure and safe

We’re sure that was the last item on your mind; well consider it checked too! All data within Slack is encrypted (256-bit AES and TLS 1.2) on the desktop or the phone. The makers perform security testing regularly to identify and resolve any loopholes so you can rest assured that your confidential data won’t be leaked online.
Aren’t you just dying to try it out?

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So how does it work?

To start using Slack immediately just signup for free through the tool’s website. You’ll need to supply your email address, pick a name for the channel you wish to create, pick a URL, choose a username for yourself and you’re done!

Click on ‘Explore Slack’ and you’ll be directed to the main chat-share screen where you can get hands-on action done. You can start by inviting people to join Slack or join an existing team that you know of. Thereafter, create as many channels as you need to. All your channels and people in your network will be listed in a panel on the left hand side of the window. And if you get confused about things, there’s a handy helpful tutorial to help you out.

Drag-and-drop items from your PC or phone into the chat window’s text box to share instantly. If you want to browse through the files shared with you or that you’ve shared, click on a small 3-dot icon on the upper right corner of the window. This corner of the window also has a search box, an ‘@’ sign to search for conversations where you’ve been mentioned and a star icon indicating items that you’ve marked as favorite.

Pros VS Cons

In addition to the list of awesome features it has, the practical plus points of Slack include quick image transfer, no VPN requirement, availability in both forms – client installation as well as web tool, freedom to create as many channels as you want depending on the requirements of your team, notifications if someone on the team is online and lots and lots more. The best part of this tool is that its basic version is free for as long as you want; meaning you don’t have to pay a penny if you just wish to use its basic version. For standard, premium and enterprise (launching in 2015) versions however, you need to pay a nominal fee. But then you get a lot of additional features too so it’s a win-win deal.
The only con with this tool seems to be slight connection issues on some mobile networks or client machines. But this issue too seems to be temporary so you shouldn’t really be worried.

  • Get over emailing formalities. Make work and sharing simpler and informal with @SlackHQ slack.com/ via @supermonitoring

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Final Verdict

All-in-all, Slack is a great tool for collaborating with your team and inculcating a bit of informal, happy work environment setting. You actually don’t have anything to lose so try it out with a couple of teammates just for fun and experience it for yourself.

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