How to use Slack’s huddle feature (and why you should)

Woman having a video call with headphones

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When was the last time you stood around the office and had an informal discussion with other colleagues?

These (often) impromptu meetings can do a lot of good. Maybe one of you has a brilliant idea that your other co-workers (or family members) will build on. Or maybe it’s just the camaraderie of the interaction.

Whatever positivity emerges from these small gatherings, it is impossible not to see its value.

But as more people work remotely or are too busy to find their way to the break room, what can you do? If you’re using Slack, there’s an interesting feature called Huddles that tries to recreate those discussions via audio, video, multi-person screen sharing, dedicated notes, and emoji reactions.

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And the latest Slack version brings even more features to Huddles, such as:

  • Video or audio meetings

  • Huddles can now be opened in a new window

  • Ability to start a dedicated notes thread that automatically saves to the channel

  • Screen sharing with multiple people

  • Topics are set so everyone knows what the discussion is about

  • Custom backgrounds

  • Emoji reactions and stickers

Don’t think of huddles as scheduled meetings and atypical conference calls (which generally follow a schedule). These are for those times when you want to grab some team members and chat about something in real time. Maybe you’re working on something and hit a snag. You have three or four team members working on the same thing and you want their input. Start a huddle and have it.

One thing to note is that while huddles are available for free accounts, you’re limited to just two people per huddle. For paid Slack accounts, huddles can have up to 50 members.

Slack Huddles can be started in either channels or DMs. Remember, when you start a conversation in a high-traffic channel, everyone in that channel has access to the conversation. To only team up with specific people, you need to be more careful. let me show you

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What is a slack huddle and how is it used?

requirements

The only thing you need is a valid Slack account. You can launch Huddles in both the web and desktop versions, as well as the mobile apps for Android and iOS. I’ll demonstrate using the Slack desktop app, but the process is similar in all of its incarnations.

The first thing you have to do is either click on a channel or DM.

Whether you’re on desktop, web, or the mobile app, you should see a small headphone icon. Tap this icon to start the conversation.

Slack's huddle button as seen on the desktop app.

Starting a Slack huddle is just a click away.

Image: Jack Wallen

Let’s say you started the conversation in a DM with just one other person. When the conversation is open, you’ll see your profile icon and an Invite People button next to it. Click this button to display a popup where you can invite others to the huddle.

The other icons around your profile picture are (counterclockwise from the right corner):

  • show thread
  • Fold-out mini window
  • leave bumblebee
  • share screen
  • Start and stop video
  • Start and stop audio

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The Slack Huddles configuration section.

Image: Jack Wallen

If you click the three-dot menu between Huddle and Share Screen, you’ll find a pop-up menu with options like Invite People, Give Feedback, Direct Message, Add Topic, and more.

Once the conversation is over, click the Leave button and it’s over.

The huddle options pop-up menu.

Even more huddle features can be found.

Image: Jack Wallen

And that, my friends, is all there is to using Slack huddles. Make the most of this feature for more efficient communication, collaboration, and camaraderie.

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