Are You Feeling Unheard on Slack? Here are 5 Ways to Amplify Your Voice

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Sarah Larson495
Improving lives by implementing research.
June 19, 2024 at 9:33AM UTC

As we work through the pandemic, new ways of working as well as communicating seem to emerge. Some organizations have shifted away from emails to Microsoft Teams or Slack. Personally, I went from an email-heavy culture to a slack-heavy culture. This was a big change although (engaging my inner tween on A.I.M.) a welcomed one. However, this isn’t always the case, changes in communication styles, preferences, and cultures can be overwhelming. Especially to those who shifted organizations during the great resignation, and had no idea they were required to assimilate to a new style. Overall, changes like this in communication could shift the general climate and potentially result in undue stress or lead to disengagement for employees. 

One way we can mitigate stress or misunderstandings in the workplace is to take accountability as an employee and try our best to communicate effectively. The most pivotal framework for communicating effectively is to create a communication plan for a project or team. While it may be easy to understand those you’ve known for a while, it’s more difficult with new stakeholders or team members. In order to own your personal brand around communication, consider the following five ways to improve communication within your sphere of influence:

1. Understand your audience.

Who are you looking to communicate with? Is it your boss, peer, direct report, or organization/department-wide? Thinking about these audiences, what do they value and how do they prefer to communicate? There are a few ways to discover how your audience prefers to communicate. See below: 

The individual: If you’re looking to communicate with an individual for the first time, refer to tip 5 where we go into storytelling. However, if this is someone you see yourself communicating with often, take time to get to know them as a person. Understanding their goals and how they tick will help you interact with them. Lastly, find out what their communication preferences are. For example, if you’re meeting with your boss during one of your first 1-on-1s, ask them some questions about their communication preferences. Such as; If I have a question about X is it best to go to you or the project owner? On projects, how often would you like to be updated?

Organizations/Groups: What is the most common communication channel for the group? If they communicate mainly via email, start there. Regardless, you will have to ask for preferences unless there is a culture around a specific medium or channel. 

2. Cater to the receiver. 

Not only does understanding your audience support your ability to communicate effectively, but it ensures the message will be received. However, understanding the preferred medium or channel your receiver has is pivotal. In that, how does the person or organization you’re communicating with want to receive that message? If we refer back to tip 1’s example of a 1-on-1 meeting with your boss, add a question- “how would you like me to inform you about this project? I noticed you use Slack most of the time, should we create a channel there or would our chat be enough?”

Overall, understanding the receiver helps you to get the right information to them in the right way. An opposing example would be if you messaged someone over Slack about an upcoming project but they never see it because they don’t use it. You want to try your best to avoid this scenario. If you’re not comfortable asking them directly, see how they communicate with you and mirror it. 

3. Over-communicating vs. under-communicating. 

Over-communication, especially in a remote environment, can be extremely valuable. When working with a dispersed workforce or team, over-communication can support equity and inclusion of those team members whose time zone/work hours are opposite to yours. This way, they know how and why situations occur and are able to take action when necessary. 

An example of over-communication could be tracking changes in a working document or ensuring everyone has eyes on the project plan and updates when necessary. That said, don’t go too far- there is no need to update everyone all the time on everything but ensure everyone has access to the information should they need it and it’s outside of your working hours. 

4. Be curious.

Mistakes happen. Misunderstandings happen. Instead of dwelling on what could have been done better, focus on how to mitigate this mistake in the future. 

If you find that someone isn’t communicating with you in a timely manner or a way you prefer, get curious about that person. Ask them open-ended questions about their communication style or management practices. In other words, ask questions that require you to actively listen to your colleague. In turn, both of you will understand a little more about each other and enhance your communication techniques in the future. 

5. Consider a storytelling tactic.

Communicating with someone new? Try storytelling. 

As a facilitator, when you want to engage your audience, one technique you can use is storytelling. In that, craft the information you want to communicate to a storyline. When you’re teaching someone new content a few rules to create by are: 

  • Relevant - Is the information relevant to your audience? Can they apply this knowledge to their day-to-day? 
  • Applicable - Ensure the receiver can apply the message.
  • Personable - Personally relate the content to the receiver. 

These should help the audience comprehend and apply the content which, in turn, makes it ‘sticky’.

Overall, there are a myriad of ways to go about this, these are just some options to have on your shelf. 

Of note: This is my experience and thoughts alone, this post does not reflect the opinions of my colleagues or employer(s).


This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Sarah L. Larson is a practitioner and people scientist. With advanced experience as a learning and organizational development leader, she has focused on employee experience, system development, and case study expertise to lead people toward individualized and organizational growth systematically. She is well versed in strategic communication efforts and it is her passion to create innovative L&OD strategies. Connect with her on LinkedIn if you enjoyed this article.

What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for amplifying your voice on Slack? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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