Slack for conferences
Slack is designed for teams who work together everyday, and large communities pose different challenges. If you’d like to use Slack for your conference, read on for some precautions, planning tips, and best practices.
What to keep in mind
Consider the following before you decide to use Slack:
🤖 Some assembly required
Setting up and administrating a Slack team means additional work and planning for your conference organizers and volunteers. Below, we’ve included some tips on setting up a team to help you get started.
📧 Email addresses may be visible to everyone
On a Slack team, members' email addresses are displayed in their member profiles. Encourage your conference speakers and attendees to sign up with an email address they are comfortable sharing publicly, or choose to hide members' email addresses.
🛠 Communities are crafted
Brand new communities will need a helping hand. Plan to spend time and resources on community management, and set some ground rules — like a Code of Conduct — to make everyone feel safe and welcome.
Set up your Slack team
Once you create a Slack team for your conference, we suggest starting with the following:
- Choose your Team Admins
Promoting trusted team members, such as your event organizers, to the Administrator role allows them to help manage your Slack team.
- Let interested attendees request a Slack account
Try building a web form so attendees who'd like to join your Slack team can request an invitation from you. (You could use a service like Typeform, Wufoo, or Google Docs to manage this.) Keep in mind: If you send invitations to all attendees at once, you might run into our invitation limits.
- Create a dedicated channel for announcements
Set your #general channel so that only Team Owners and Admins can post there. You can rename your #general channel to something like #announcements.
- Fine-tune your announcement settings
We suggest restricting @channel, @here and @everyone notifications so that only Team Owners and Admins can use them. This should help to reduce noise for attendees.
Tip: Important news? With this setup, organizers (and only organizers) can use @everyone in the #announcements channel to notify every attendee about important developments.
We suggest running your conference Slack team for about 3 months:
⏳ 1 month before
Attendees can introduce themselves, connect, and plan activities ahead of time.
🗓 During the conference
Slack can be a central hub for communication during your event, and attendees can make last-minute plans or follow up with new acquaintances.
⌛️ 1 month after
Attendees can discuss what they learned and continue to follow up with the people they met.
Tip: Throughout the event, it’s a good idea for an organizer to regularly check in on channels, answer questions, and keep an eye out for any issues that may arise.
Start with some useful channels
In your Team Settings, you can choose to let participants create channels on their own. (You can always archive or delete unnecessary channels if you need to.) For smaller conferences, you might like to limit channels to a dozen or so that are created by organizers in advance.
Tip: You can add your most important channels to your default list, so new team members will join them automatically.
It’s a great idea to have a dedicated channel where attendees can share a short bio about themselves. Post a good example ahead of time and pin it to the channel for others to follow.
It’s useful to set out any expectations you have for how people should interact — both at the conference and within the Slack team. You could also pin any special instructions, such as who to direct message if there’s an incident.
If some team members haven’t used Slack before, try creating a #slack-tips channel where people well-versed in Slack can make suggestions, and answer any questions people have.
Good luck, and happy planning!