A Preview of Slack For Dummies

A roadmap for book number nine.

Introduction

​I’m knee-deep in putting the final touches on Slack For Dummies. In total, the book will consist of six parts. Here they are.

Part 1: Working Smarter and Better with Slack

Slack has exploded in popularity for many reasons. The chapters in this part explain why. What’s more, they offer some rudimentary information about Slack’s background, rise, and benefits. I describe the main business problems that Slack helps solve for more than 12 million people and hundreds of oodles of thousands of organizations every day.

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Chapter 1 paints a decidedly mixed picture of the states of business communication and collaboration. Brass tacks: Employees frequently waste time and become frustrated while on the clock. For precisely these reasons, Slack serves an invaluable function its users every day. Not only does it Slack benefit employers, but it can make employees’ work lives far less chaotic.

I also introduce readers to the Slack user interface and some of its building blocks. To use a bowling analogy, Part 1 sets up the pins and the other parts knock them down.

Part 2: Communicating without Chaos

“Calling the phone a phone is like calling a Lexus convertible a cup holder.”

Gary Gulman

Slack lets users send individual and group messages to their colleagues. In this way, it resembles email, but that’s missing the big picture. To paraphrase the erudite comedian Gary Gulman, claiming that Slack only allows you to send messages is tantamount to using your car for the sole purpose of holding your coffee tumbler. You are severely underestimating what it can do.

In Part 2, readers learn how to send targeted public and private messages to colleagues throughout their organization. I also show you how to control Slack’s notifications.

Part 3: Becoming a Slack Power User 🔌

In this section, I move beyond the basic Slack message and notification functionality. I explain some of its advanced features such as group video calling, screen-sharing, and more. You’ll learn how to find exactly what you in want using Slack’s advanced search features and how to personalize Slack’s appearance. I also cover to secure Slack and minimize the chance of data breaches.

Part 4: Extending Slack’s Native Functionality

The chapters in this part describe some of the cool ways that developers have taken Slack in new and exciting directions. Yes, much like your smartphone, you can use third-party apps in Slack. If you wished that Slack could do something that Parts 2 and 3 don’t cover, there’s a good chance that a whip-smart developer or startup has already built it or will soon. Alternatively, if you’ve got the technical chops, you can create it yourself.

I also explain the data side of the application: How to get data into and out of Slack and how to analyze it. In so doing, you’ll learn a few things about your how employees at your company communicate. This part concludes with how organizations are increasingly integrating Slack into their front- and back-office systems.

Part 5: Successfully Introducing Slack in the Workplace

Parts 2, 3, and 4 demonstrate Slack’s most powerful features. In short, Slack allows organizations to transform how their employees communicate and collaborate.

Of course, theory and practice often collide. It’s critical to understand that Slack is ultimately not an individual tool; it is a group one. As such, the benefits that you and your organization will ultimately reap hinge upon its successful adoption and use. The wider, the better.

In this vein, Part 5 offers tips on how to maximize the chance that your organization will profit from using the application for years to come. I discuss the risks of adopting and using Slack.

Make no mistake: This matters. People who don’t understand issues tangential to adopting any application are more likely to make glaring mistakes with it.

I close this section of Slack For Dummies with a chapter on Slack’s bright future and what you can expect from it down the road.

Part 6: The Part of Tens 🔟

The chapters in Part 6 offer valuable tips on how to make the most out of Slack. Collectively, these quick nuggets provide even more ways to extend its power. I debunk some of the biggest misconceptions that people have about Slack. The book closes with a chapter on my favorite Slack resources.

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