Internal communication with emails is dying. Meet Your Substitute

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The emails are with the days counted

When it comes to internal communication (conversation between members of a company), email is still one of the most commonly used tools in the business world. Whether it's to send a report file to the boss, to make a comment with everyone on your team in print, or to have a personal conversation with someone.

In recent years there have been some improvements and facilities for those who use emails (at least for those who use gmail) such as:

  • Separation of input boxes (main, promotions, social, etc.)
  • Possibility of creating specific filters
  • Forwarding other email accounts to your primary email
  • Default Responses

some email facilities

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The problem is that even with these improvements and being one of the most used tools in internal company communication, I do not know a human who likes "heart" to use emails to communicate. And this is mainly because:

  • it's (almost) impossible to keep your inbox empty
  • always have someone to answer a useless message to you keeping everyone in copy
  • it is a great loss of productivity to enter the email all the time to see if it has new messages
  • it's extremely difficult to find old emails
  • it's even trickier to find old files
  • from time to time your file capacity may exceed the limit

I could stay until tomorrow talking about a lot of things that have made the emails count with the days, but it would not be very productive neither for me nor for you. There are even other options to email, but until recently, none were unanimous and, in my opinion, were not because they did not solve 100% those problems listed.

Other options that have already tried to replace the email:

It is quite true that we could list a myriad of internal communication tools here, but I will show the ones that I consider the most relevant or that I have seen colleagues using:

  • Google Hangouts: has its value as a chat and video conferencing integrated into gmail and by having an application, but it raises usability and the search for conversations and archives old
  • Intranets: usually have a prehistoric interface and are not very user-friendly, although they fulfill a part of the communication function
  • Skype: excellent for video conferencing and fast conversations, but has more value between companies than internally
  • Whatsapp: very good for quick conversations but is far from having a strong business functionality
  • Corporate Social Networks: I see as 2.0 intranets, but have not come to consolidate as a good option

Regardless of the solution, it has come to realize that all have one or several points of improvement. To make matters worse, they are often used in conjunction with email to resolve some issues. Today I was talking to a friend who said use whats app for quick conversations, uses email for more "important" conversations and sending files and stays with skype when you need to do virtual conferences / meetings.

Slack, the email substitute (and several other tools)

To begin with, it's worth noting that Slack is an internal communication platform that simplifies the conversation between employees (and even customers and suppliers). His motto is "get less busy" and it works at 3 levels:

  • Direct conversation
  • Private groups
  • General Channels

internal communication - slack image

But you must be thinking that Slack is "just another chat" and that there is not a strong enough reason for you to test this new tool. Well, actually there are a lot of reasons yes and I'll show you now:

  • Slack centralizes the internal (and even external) communication of the company

This centralization is done by the 3 levels that I explained above and this is more or less the view you have of a part of the menu:

internal communication - slack menu image

The cool thing is that these groups can be used by everyone in the company or only by specific people and with specific interests. So, in the case of LUZ we have service-oriented channels, bugs in spreadsheets, for planning our course area and so on.

Slack is so good and it centralizes so much in the same place that it is possible to invite people from outside your company to keep communication easier and more practical. So if you have a consultancy and you want to maintain a better communication channel than email with a client, you can create a specific Slack channel for this.

In our case, when we were working with outsourcers, we invited them to our Slack and exchanged messages there. Below is an example of a quick conversation between Rodrigo (outsourced) and myself:

talk with outsourced - slack - internal communication

Plus, it's easy and simple to find old files and conversations. Apart from everything being stored in the same place, there are a multitude of filters that can be used.

internal communication - search for files or old conversations - slack

  • Slack has a mobile version (app) and web software (browser)

Obviously there is no chance of having a communication channel that is not connected to your smartphone. The best way to do this is by an app, as this will make it much easier to use the main features of the software. Here's an example of the Slack app:

internal communication - slack mobile app

Another option is to use the web version of Slack, which is quite good. I usually leave it open whenever I'm working on the computer and keep the setting checked to catch my attention with important notices or written messages directly to me.

  • Slack has a multitude of integrations

The truth is that our business reality leads people to use different services from different companies. The slack attentive to this phenomenon, has created integrations with the great majority of them. An example is analyzing the sales that happened in the LIGHT worksheets.

That's right, in a simple way Slack warns of all sales that occur throughout the day, making it useless to have to enter our sales system to keep track of what went out or not. In addition, we have integrations with almost all the features we use, that is, we receive automatic messages informing expenses with adwords of the day and the month, with comments on our blog and even doubts in our Excel Discussion Forum, Look:

internal communication - integration with forum light

  • besides all this, Slack is still fun

As soon as you start to fiddle, a fun and friendly robot with a "semi artificial intelligence" asks you some questions like what is your name to generate an initial setup. After that, you can create several rules that make the slackbot (name of their robot) to send messages whenever someone speaks a certain word or expression and still use gif in conversations:

giphy good job internal communication

  • which can be a barrier for you

Slack still does not have a Portuguese version (which is not a huge barrier), and although it has a free version, it can be a little expensive if you want to use all the features it provides.

What internal communication tool does your company use?

The truth is, most organizations had no idea they had internal communication problems before they knew and used Slack. Once you get started it addicts and really has the main features to become the main communication tool of all companies that do not want to look like a dinosaur.

Before you ask, we do not get anything to speak Slack so well, but we are extremely happy users with the service and I thought you'd like to meet, too.

And you, did you already know Slack? Thinking about using or already use? And what is the main internal communication tool that your company uses? Please reply to me in the comments that it will be a pleasure to chat with you.

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