How the Executive Assistant to Slack’s CTO, Shelley Trask, uses Slack

Last month, I participated in a pre-recorded event called the Virtual Business Summit (VBS), an event I came across via a co-living group called Outsite. Melissa, the founder of the Summit, asked me to participate in the VBS as an industry expert speaking on the topic of Collective Intelligence on behalf of bnotes. On day two of the event, Shelley Trask, the executive assistant to the CTO of Slack and I spoke back to back.

After my talk, I sat through Shelley’s and took notes. Learn how Shelley and her team use Slack to build Slack.

Read,How bnotes is different from Slack.

Shelley Trask, EA to CTO

Notes from Shelley’s talk

  • At Slack, we only use Slack; we do not use email.
  • Slack is faster than email.
  • Q: Have you ever sent 30 emails back and forth to schedule a meeting?
  • We have Channels for every project to ensure context — Fewer efforts to context switch
  • We default to public channels to ensure alignment — communication visibility

Unique ways we use Slack at Slack

  • Shelley considers herself an email expert and GSuite expert
  • We use Slack templates for every meeting request
  • example — Meeting with CTO, CPO, VP of Engineering
  • actionCreate meeting request template to give context about the meeting
  • Name
  • Duration
  • Attendees
  • Suggested times and dates
  • action — React via “reactgi.” (an emoji for a reaction)
  • action — Thumbs up
  • action — Select options numbers 2 or 4
  • We encourage threads as not to muddy up the flow of messages

What are some ways people misuse Slack? + What are some best practices?

  • Threading
  • Questions include the topic, and the answer is a conversation inside a thread and put a check mark on your question.
  • If I @ you then you will receive a notification and put an eyeball emoji
  • I saw your question, and I am going to get to it at a later time
  • You want to know that someone has seen what you need
  • Emotional Intelligence & Considerations
  • You should not have hard conversations
  • You should not have feedback via Slack
  • Anything HR related
  • A project may require a quick meeting to get back aligned before a lengthy back and forth on Slack

What cool features are we likely to miss in Slack?

  • You should know how to mark something “unread.”
  • Long press on your phone
  • Memorize shortcut keys
  • Use the /remind command
  • /remind me to respond to Melissa at this time on this day
  • Visit the app directory
  • Jira
  • Polli
  • Doodle
  • Trello
  • Asana
  • Zoom
  • GitHub
  • Note: she does not use ticket service for the Executive Assistant team

Channels Etiquette

  • You can easily unarchive a Channel; it is not a deletion
  • Over archive; do not be afraid
  • Make sure that your channels are on the topic
  • Suggests to rename General channel
  • If people are misaligned in dialogue inside a Channel then use an emoji that suggests that you take the conversation elsewhere.
  • We use the polite raccoon

What are your favorite features as an EA

  • I feel like I’m in close contact with my EA peers as a result of Slack
  • I love the context of visibility
  • One of my struggles used to be context
  • Create Slack boundaries
  • Mute a channel
  • You can wake up the Channel
  • Snooze a channel
  • Add an emoji to your status
  • Integration with calendars that does it automatically

Tips for file sharing in Slack + Ancillary functions

  • Star system to reference (feature)
  • Pin to Channel
  • You can create a Google Doc and pin that to Channel
  • We have excellent integration with Google
  • Automation and Shortcuts
  • Use the remind feature
  • If you can stay within Slack, then you don’t have that context switching
  • /Go would take you to a Google Doc that was his (her bosses) paternity leave plan
  • Remind is an excellent way of delegating work within Slack

When would you become a paid member?

  • Index old messages
  • Messages expire after 90 days
  • More features and functionality
  • Expanding shared channels
  • Ability to write to someone outside of Slack as to eliminate the need for email even more

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