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Is this the tool that finally ends email?

Email went mainstream in the 1990s. Has a better alternative finally arrived?

I was in the airport earlier this week and spotted Inc. magazine’s “Company of the Year” issue.

Slack

The brazen claim on the cover: “Say goodbye to email.” I’m not sure that it’ll kill email, but tools like Slack and HipChat are worth a look if you’re seeking to find a collaboration tool that can help organize communication between program or project teams. 

Why won’t this be an “Email Killer”?

These tools appear to be internal communication tools, and there will always be a need to reach outside of your group – be it your organization or simply a project group with which you’re collaborating. I’m not sure I see how you can send a message to an outside party like a potential client or customer or even your mother without using email.

Why should you try one of these tools anyway?

I tried to use Slack with an internal project team and it was an effort that lasted about 3 days before we all reverted to email and Google Drive. I was definitely not an early adopter.

Then my colleague, Melissa Milloway, invited me to join an L&D community HipChat group and it was a great experience. Like any new initiative, switching over to something like Slack or HipChat requires a critical mass of users.

I’ve found this particular group to be a sort of virtual Learning and Development water cooler, where learning professionals from across the country can come together and exchange ideas on anything from how best to use Articulate Storyline to what the best animated gif would be to epitomize a Monday morning.

Recently, I began to use it within my own organization in order to better facilitate communication between Seattle-based and Delhi-based staff, and it seems to be working (but it’s early still… we’ll see what happens when the initial novelty wears off). Not only has it helped facilitate communication across geographically dispersed staff, it’s also given us a way to better organize our project-based communication. Instead of trying to sift through bunches of emails in our inboxes, we can now keep all of our project-specific communication and documents in one area, which makes knowledge management a bit easier.

Interested in seeing how HipChat works as a learning and development community tool?

If you’re interested in kicking the tires on a collaboration tool like HipChat, sign up here to join us. Just be careful, there are a few members of the community who work for Amazon and are forever trying to poach high quality L&D talent!

 

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