How to Slack?

slack logo

If you’re new to Slack, it might feel a bit overwhelming. Here is a two-minute guide to getting started.

A building

Think of Slack as a building with a bunch of conference rooms in it. People are invited into the building and can interact with one another. Each ‘room’ in our Slack has people in it, and when you click on that channel, everything you type will be seen by anyone in the channel. Scroll up to see what the people before you have said (reading, listening, and then contributing is a really powerful way to get the most out of a Slack interaction).


The biggest channel is called #general. (The # indicates a channel name.) This is the default that you get automatically added to when you join, the lobby, the place where everyone is when they’re not in a smaller room. The #general room is a great place to introduce yourself and see who else is present, and general discussions. When a topic starts in #general and then gets very involved, it can be taken out of #general and into its own channel. You can choose to join all or any of the other channels; #general is the only one you get added to by default.


Click on the word ‘CHANNELS’ which is all the way to the left. It will open a window that shows you all the channels available to join. Select a channel and click the “join channel” button at the bottom of the page. Repeat until you have joined all the channels you are interested in.

Direct messages

If you look on the left side of the window, you’ll see the name of each participant. If you click on any name there, you can send that person a private note that only they can see.


You can also alert someone when you mention them in anything you write: If you type @ and the name of a user within a sentence (like “I was talking to @jameseyjames”) it will alert them to what you wrote.


You can set Slack to keep you informed of everything that’s happening, or just bits. Here’s a simple way to do it:


If you click on your icon or username, you have the option to edit your profile and add some information to it.


Slack can be intimidating at first, but the same was true for email and emojis, and we figured those out… 😉 Don’t hesitate to ask for help of the other participants in Slack itself if you get lost, but you’ll probably be alright. You might want to jump in and introduce yourself in #general, or you can lurk until you’re ready and you see a discussion that sparks your interest, that’s fine too!