learn how to correctly use messaging and chat apps at work, such as Slack or Microsoft teams, to look professional and communicate effectively

Messaging At Work: 9 Rules For Using Slack & Chat Apps Best

Who this micro-class is for

* Employees and managers

What you’ll learn

* How to use team chat and messaging apps at work

* The common mistakes to avoid with team messaging apps


* Less than 6 minutes to complete

About this micro-class

Fostering a healthy communication environment is crucial for a productive workplace. Appropriately using messaging and team communication platforms ensures effective, respectful, and productive communication across the company.

Best Practices

1. Quick Syncs

Team chat apps work best for quick and informal syncs. Examples:

  • Asking a question that implies a short answer.
  • Aligning on an easy topic.
  • Sharing a link or a bite-sized piece of information.
  • Chatting informally.

2. Professional Language

Use clear and professional language, avoiding slang, abbreviations, or offensive language that could be misinterpreted.

Set up a professionally-looking user profile. Use your first and last name as the user name and a professional photo.

3. Respect and Consideration

Be mindful of different time zones, work schedules, and cultural differences. Avoid unnecessary disturbances during non-working hours.

Avoid using messaging apps during meetings.

4. Relevance in Channels

Post messages relevant to the specific channel or topic, minimizing off-topic conversations.

Keep personal and private topics separate.

5. Clarity and Conciseness

Keep messages clear and concise, providing context when necessary.

Move longer discussions to a different channel, such as a call or meeting.

6. Timely Responses

Aim to respond promptly to direct messages or queries when possible, ideally instantly and not over 2 hours. Wait for the other person to stop writing before you do.

Set out-of-office notification if you are unavailable.

7. Privacy and Confidentiality

Respect sensitive information. Avoid sharing sensitive or confidential data in public channels. 

Keep confidentiality with private channels’ content.

8. Proper Use of Emojis and GIFs


Use emojis and GIFs judiciously, ensuring they’re appropriate for the context and audience.

Don’t write ALL CAPS, as it is the chat equivalent of shouting.


9. Regular Check-ins

Stay updated on relevant channels and announcements to remain informed about company-wide communications.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

1. Over-Messaging

Avoid excessive pinging, unnecessary notifications, or flooding channels with non-essential messages.

Use the “notify all” functionality sparingly.

Don’t add coworkers to a channel without explaining why.

2. Ignoring Requests or Messages

Try not to ignore direct messages or important inquiries from colleagues, clients, or partners.

3. Conflict Resolution

If a conflict arises, move sensitive discussions to private messages or resolve them in person, if necessary.

4. Misuse of Humor or Tone

Be cautious with humor or sarcasm, as it can be misinterpreted in text form.

5. Misuse of Company Channels

Do not use company communication tools for personal conversations or non-work-related content.

Avoid chat apps for formal or in-depth communication. Examples:

  • Writing to human resources.
  • Asking for time off.
  • Asking questions that imply a complex answer.

5. Avoiding Updates or Notifications

Regularly update your status or availability to ensure colleagues are aware of your availability.

Resources and useful links