Work Smart, Slack Smarter: Tips for Enhancing Communications Between Colleagues

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By Mary Anderson, Persado Content Specialist

To me, Slack often feels like the “professional AIM messenger.” It gives a sense of immediacy and has fun built-in features, like emojis and polls. But it can be a tricky space to navigate. While emailing less and slacking more is great for reducing the weight and stress of an inbox it can leave room for quick and careless communication. Slack like a pro with these tips, based on Persado’s extensive research of language and emotions

Be a normal, considerate person.

This seems like common sense, but it is too easy to fall prey to stressful work deadlines and message someone urgently demanding something like, “I’ll need this infographic ASAP. Sending you details. Please have by EOD.”  This fails to consider other projects the colleague may be working on and crafting something more thoughtful. At Persado, we see time and time again that negative emotions such as Urgency are not nearly as effective as more positive, self-affirming emotions. For example, taking an extra second to message your colleague “Hey [Name], how are you?” before you send your request is not only more kind but also more effective. We have the data to prove that using someone’s name in any context increases engagement. 

Don’t be so serious.

You can have a little fun and still be professional. Slack has so many playful built-in features for a reason! Add a relevant gif, make an HR-appropriate emoji of your coworker or start a Slack channel to talk about something non-work related that interests you. Happiness opens up communication and trust among colleagues as well as increases productivity. A 2015 study, Happiness and Productivity: Understanding the Happy-Productive Worker, showed that happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees.

Use collaborative communication

When a team member drops the ball on an important project, it can often prompt an instinctual and brash response. In a helpful book titled “Nonviolent Communication,” author Marshall Rosenberg gives a four-step guide to better communication. By using observations instead of evaluations and avoiding words that inflict blame on someone we open ourselves up to a healthier, more empathetic relationship with our co-workers. For example: instead of saying, “Why weren’t you at this meeting?!” which sounds accusatory and can shut down a dialogue, opt for a less-judgemental, “I noticed you were absent in the meeting this morning. Is everything ok?” 
 
Bottom line: Language is the foundation of successful community and collaboration. At Persado, we understand the importance of being purposeful with our words. Our data shows the impact a single word can make and how different audiences respond to different emotions. In marketing, it’s our job to figure out what language customers will respond to, and as people, it’s our job to be just as considerate when articulating ourselves respectfully to fellow humans.