of humor, and they can also be used to convey
concrete information like acknowledgments, approvals, urgency, or congratulations. For example,
use a pair of eyes to denote you’re looking into
something, a green checkmark or a thumbs-up
for approvals, a red circle to express urgency, or
applause to say congrats on a job well done.
8. Know when to take the conversation offline. The
written word is best for relaying and documenting
facts—who, what, when, and where. But when
discussions veer into more nuanced or emotional
territory, (i.e., the “why”), you might have a greater
chance of being understood if you hash things
out face-to-face, over video conference, or on the
phone. Don’t hesitate to call a timeout on a digital
conversation in favor of an in-person one—you
can always summarize the discussion and the
resulting action items in writing for everyone else’s
Not only is clear communication a courtesy to your
co-workers, it’s one of the simplest ways to prevent
setbacks at work while also contributing to a more
amiable and inclusive work culture. But sometimes
communication—especially in writing—is anything but
simple, so remember that practicing good writing isn’t
about striving to be the next great novelist. It’s about
striving for mutual understanding and alignment so
that everyone can confidently move forward together.
3. Choose your words wisely. You have it in you to
empower, educate, and delight with your words.
You also have the power to exclude, alienate, and
confuse. So, for example, instead of addressing a
group of people as “You guys,” consider using a
more inclusive term, like “Team,” or if appropriate,
something a little more affable, like “Folks.” Be
conscious of your words and use them to build
community with your coworkers—it makes for a
better work experience for everyone, which motivates people to do their best work.
4. Make sense. Words are important, but if you’re
just having a conversation (as opposed to writing
a formal report), don’t futz about wondering if an
infinitive has been horrifyingly split, or whether
you need a serial comma, a contraction, or an em
dash. Being understood and responsive is better
than being absolutely correct.
5. Define to align. ARR? KPI? TMI! When you find
yourself working with people from other teams,
departments, or outside organizations, it’s never
a bad idea to break down business lingo and acronyms so that everyone’s operating on the same
level of understanding. Don’t assume everyone
knows exactly what you’re talking about. Be kind:
6. Get specific with feedback. When you go beyond
saying a generic “Good job!” and take the time to
specify why something is good, or where it could
be improved, it gives people the opportunity to
adjust and learn every day, rather than waiting for
the end of a project or the next feedback cycle,
when those lessons are likely moot. Offering your
feedback in writing is like a form of continuous
coaching, and doing it in a public setting (
courteously, of course) means that other members of the
team benefit from the learning opportunity as well.
7. Use emoji. Really. Everyone loves the speed of texting, but when most human interaction is reduced
to text alone, it can be hard to really connect.
Emoji help you to be more succinct and more
expressive at the same time. Your choice of emoji
can help recipients infer your mood and level Learn more at slack.com
An emoji is worth a thousand words
This is urgent! Congrats! Good work.
I’m looking into it... Approved!