Using Group Chat, The Right Way

Talking in a group chat can feel like you’re in a day-long meeting with no real agenda. That is, if you’re group chat the wrong way. Group chat works best when you use it for specific situations, rather than for chatting to everyone and anyone about every little thing.

Group chat is best for:

  • Getting a quick answer. Waiting hours for an email reply to a simple question is highly unproductive. Sometimes all you need is a simple yes or no, so you can move on to the next task. Sending a message in group chats will help you get the answers you need faster.
  • Sometimes you need to get urgent and important information in front of people. Maybe a server is down and that requires immediate attention from the right people. There are many ways to get this critical information to people, and putting it into a high priority group chat is one of those ways.
  • Getting things done quickly. If you’ve been tossing ideas back and forth between a team of people, chat is the best thing to do. Chuck in some keywords, upload an image, get quick feedback and get out before you get sucked back in.
  • This is particularly important for those working out of the office. Having a place where you can say “good morning”, invite people to your after-work party and just essentially feel like a part of something is a powerful way to feel happy and valued.
  • Enjoying yourself. Having fun at work can be just as vital as working at work. This is where group chats work very well. You develop a workplace culture, build stronger relationships and feel better about coming into work on Monday.

As you can see, group chats are an important tool for a business, but make sure you’re using it the right way. Make sure you know when to use it, contain conversations, and watch user behaviours in case negative moods take over.

Announcements aren’t conversations. If you must make a company-wide announcement, pin it to the noticeboard rather than posting it in a chat room, to make sure everyone sees it. Also, treat a group chat like a meeting – you don’t need everyone there. Smaller chats are better chats. Avoid chaos by only inviting relevant parties to a group chat.

If you’re stuck in a group chat that’s been going on for what seems like forever, get people to do a write up. Get someone to make a point that summarises and concludes the whole conversation. Let others take the time to understand it and respond in kind. Similarly, summarise information rather than drip it. It’ll help cut down distractions.

Keep conversations short, relevant and to the point. Think about how they’re affecting other participants, rather than just looking at what they help you get done. This will ensure that group chats are a useful part of your work process!