Whenever you’re working with a team, you’re inevitably going to face some challenges, especially when it comes to communication.
You’ll need to get everyone on the same page, effectively communicate to the group as a whole, and keep dates and deadlines organized.
Things can get pretty messy if you’re not careful.
Let’s say that you need to schedule a team meeting and narrow down a date that works for everyone. This situation happens all the time and it’s very easy to get trapped in a breakdown of communication.
Your first instinct may be to send out an email blast announcing that you’d like to meet on a specific date and time. Since you’re polite, you’ll ask your teammates for input so that you know if the date and time works for everyone.
Here’s where things start to get messy.
Each reply gets stacked on top of the last one until your email chain is so long it becomes hard to tell who’s even writing. In a matter of a few hours, everyone’s inbox is flooded with replies.
Messages are bound to get lost in the shuffle, and if you’re not paying attention and automatically hit ‘reply’, you may not be responding to the correct recipient.
With so many advances in technology, you’d think we’d have a better system than this.
Sure, you can use your email’s search feature, but that doesn’t always help. Sometimes that can make things even more confusing by bringing up tons of other emails.
Honestly, how many emails do you receive every day?
My guess is that you’re still sifting through a good amount each day, especially if there’s an upcoming event that you’re volunteering in or some special news to announce at your church.
That’s why it’s so easy to lose track of important messages; we simply receive too many.
So what can you do instead?
Let me introduce you to Slack: “Real-time messaging that works.”
In today’s article, I’ll show you how to create a Slack community that makes collaborating with your team more effective and even easier than sending out regular old emails.
What is Slack?
Wouldn’t it be nice to be less busy?
The makers of Slack agree. Their motto for the platform Slack is literally: “Be less busy.”
Slack is a collaboration tool that makes communication and document sharing between teammates a breeze. With Slack, your team spends less time figuring out how to communicate and more time working together in harmony.Bonus: If you’re ready to get started with Slack, download our step-by-step guide which walks you through how to set up your community.Click HereSlack keeps everything in one place so there’s no need to shuffle between programs or emails.Tweet This
How Does Slack Work?
You can think of Slack like an AOL chatroom from back in the day or like Skype or Google Hangouts, for a more modern example.
In essence, Slack’s a chatroom.
However, this chatroom is different from AOL and Skype because you won’t be bombarded with friend requests from strangers and contacts that you’ve never heard of.
Slack is a chatroom made for your team only.
When you create a new team in Slack, you have the option of creating separate channels (chatrooms essentially; on the imagebelow, these are denoted with a #) to keep things organized.
A channel can be used to separate projects or topics so that only the teammates working on that specific task are kept in the loop. This way you’re not bombarded with messages that don’t pertain to you.
For example, one channel could be set up specifically for your family-friendly events while another one could be focused on your social media strategies.
This keeps tasks nice and organized so you’re not criss-crossing conversations in one group.
Plus, when you need to refer back to a specific message within a channel, you can use the search feature which scans your messages for you and highlights exactly what you’re looking for.
You can also send your teammates direct messages to keep things even more organized. With a direct message, the user is immediately alerted just like they would be when a text message comes in.
Additional Collaboration Features from Slack
On top of having private conversations with specific team members, you can also share files directly in Slack.
So if your team is brainstorming a social media strategy, everyone can add their thoughts directly in a conversation inside Slack. If one person has an image or diagram that they think can be helpful in the strategy, they can share that file in Slack so that it is documented along with the conversation. It’s a valuable way to add outside resources into your team’s collaboration, since files stay in Slack forever.
Slack keeps everything in one place so there’s no need to shuffle between programs or emails.
Another one of Slack’s best features is that it’s set up to work on both iOS (Apple) and Android devices so your team can always stay connected no matter what device they’re using.
The Slack app can be added to your phone, laptop, or tablet within a matter of a few seconds.
Its best feature— aside from making collaboration a breeze— is the fact that “Slack is free to use for as long as you want and with an unlimited number of people.”
Most churches can successfully use the free version (which includes everything I’ve talked about in this article) without ever needing to upgrade. However, for larger churches, or for churches who may go above the 10k message mark, the affordable upgrade options may prove beneficial for your needs. To learn more, check out Slack’s pricing breakdown to see which plan works best for your church.
Tips on Using Slack with Your Church Team
To help you get the most out of Slack, here are a few examples of how to use it:
- Set up a unique channel for each project that your website team is working on so everyone is on the same page
- Coordinate meeting times with your team; you’ll quickly know everyone’s availability.
- Share files within a channel so you know everyone received it
- Communicate directly with each team member to avoid confusion
- Set up a channel for volunteer announcements and sign ups
- Create an event channel to keep communications organized in one location
How to Get Your Team On Board with Slack
While Slack is a great tool for communicating knowledge in one central location, it’s only going to work if everyone on your team jumps on board. And that’s easier said than done.
Most of us don’t like change and some of us need more time to adjust.
That’s where your leadership in using Slack will be pivotal.
Not only should you set up your Slack Community, and specific channels for your team, but you’ll also need to coach each member on how to use Slack, especially the top leaders of your team.
Explain how Slack will save them time and makes communication that much easier for everyone.
Lastly, Slack is a great way to hold your team members accountable, which is perfect for anyone managing a team. In a matter of a few seconds, you’ll have an update on how your open tasks are going and you can chat with each team member directly to learn more about the status of their part in the project.
Say goodbye to long email threads and lost messages and hello to effective communication with the help of Slack.
Thanks to its user-friendly interface, and the fact that it can be used on any device you have, your team will have no problems setting up and staying active on Slack.
Plus, you can customize your notifications to include an update about everything that’s going on, or only the items specific to your tasks.
Not only does Slack make communication simpler, but it also keeps things organized so everyone feels in the loop at all times.
At Faithmade, we also have a wonderful Slack community which you can join. Send us an email and we’ll add you to the group!