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Tango's Slack Norms

Tango's Slack Norms

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Keeping a fully remote team engaged and up to date can be a challenge. There are a variety of communication tools out there to choose from and at Tango we are big fans of using Slack. We've found it to be a great way to collaborate and share information quickly.

But it can also get a little overwhelming...

As we grow our distributed team, we've found that implementing a set of "Slack norms" keeps communication streamlined and manageable.

Our Slack norms

🧵Thread, don't spread - When discussing, use threads. They contain notifications to the participants and keep channels organized. A threaded dialogue is much easier to search and discover later.

📖 Book it - Not all messages require a response. If you've read a message that's relevant to you, and have nothing to say, react with the book emoji. This is mandatory for messages tagging @channel to show you've seen it.

📣 Default to public - Sliding into DMs can be necessary to problem solve. That said, if others might benefit from seeing the decision-making, thread it in a channel. Live out #ShowYourHand and allow the team to follow your thought process.

Set your schedule - Slack is accessible and lowers the communication barrier. That doesn't mean you should be accessible 24/7. Set your notification schedule in Slack to coincide with your working hours on Google Calendar. Make it clear when you're available and when you're offline.

🌴 Take a breather - We are not in a contest to see who responds the fastest and who has their green light on the longest. Take breaks. Respond to @mentions if you're away from your computer during regular working hours. Otherwise, it can wait.

🦉 Use @ wisely - This one is important! Follow generally accepted conventions for @-tagging in channels: @channel → Channel-wide, must-read announcements and urgent, all hands on deck matters. @here → Quick response needed from the online team. Consider direct mentions before @here. @mention → Seeking a specific response or update to/from a person on the team. Unless you mention, don't assume a particular person will read or respond to that message.

Assume positive intent - Avoid reading between the lines and making logical leaps from a message someone sends. Treat it as literal, assume positive intent, and ask clarifying questions. Remember this when writing messages, as well.

📝 Assume low context - Low context communicators default to assuming team members don't have context on a message. Know that asymmetrical information is amplified on remote teams, and put the #TeamFirst. Provide links, resources, and clarity. It may slow you down, but it will benefit everyone else.

💭 Value thought over speed - Prioritize comprehensive thought in your responses instead of a quick message. If you need feedback, welcome everyone's input and set a feedback time window. Don't act immediately on the first response.


We hope these tips are helpful as you look to streamline team communication at your company.

Feel free to share this article or the infographic below with anyone who might benefit from these tips!

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If you're looking for more tools to get your team up to speed, check out how Tango can save you tons of time creating documentation and how-to guides.

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