Alternative usage for channels

Communication types as channels

Tools such as Microsoft Teams or Slack allow messages to be categorised into 'channels' in a specific team:

© Microsoft

Channels are usually used to categorise conversations based on content, as in the example above: 'Marketing' or 'Performance'. Compare it a bit with the folders we create in our email to sort incoming mail. As we learned so conscientiously in the famous 'mail box exercise'.

 

The folder structure in our e-mail is a personal choice. It reflects how we - as individuals - efficiently structure our incoming e-mails. But Teams of Slack is meant for teams. And not every team member will necessarily have the same preference when it comes to organising messages. As a result, a message that one person will spontaneously classify under 'Marketing' may be placed in the 'Performance' channel by someone else.

Communication categories

An alternative to content categories is to organise messages according to a communication category. This says something about the type of communication rather than the content of the message. As a team, you can make corresponding agreements per communication type. In the table below you will find some examples to illustrate this. The first column contains the name of the channel, the second column contains a description of this communication category and the third column contains the agreement made by the team.

Telex

Information for the whole team, everyone should know this.

Follow this channel at least twice a day and respond as a sign that you have read the message (or a like).

Groups conversation

Group discussions like we used to have face-to-face during our team meetings.

It suffices to read this channel and share your opinion about the new posts twice a week. A discussions will last for two weeks.

Good to know

Best-practices from your daily work which you think could also be useful for your colleagues.

Try reading it once or twice a week. Those who share something should also state in the tip why they think it could be useful for colleagues. This also reflects the larger picture.

By taking into consideration the urgency of messages, you also manage the flow of information. After all, not every message is equally urgent. You only switch on the (pop-up) notification for the first channel, the 'telex' channel, because that's something you need to know quickly. For the other two channels, it is not necessary to enable automatic notification. These are not important enough to get you out of your work concentration.

 

In this way, messages are not categorised according to content, but according to the type of communication. The internal team communication is more effective because the category also says something about how urgent a message is, how quickly you should read it or how quickly you should respond to it if necessary.

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