Slack introduced a feature called Slack Huddles in 2021 to enable real-time, voice-based conversations in the Slack application. The goal was to allow quick and impromptu meetings, similar to those that might occur in a physical office setting.
How to use Slack Huddles feature
Slack's introduction of the Huddles feature, a voice-based conversation tool, has been met with mixed reactions from users of the platform's free plan. Limited to only two participants per Huddle, the free plan has ceased offering traditional calls, which used to allow multi-participant discussions. This transition to mandatory use of Huddles has raised issues among users, especially concerning notifications and invitations. Unlike conventional calls that have a ringing notification, Huddles alerts come through as easily-missed messages. Additionally, users cannot add others to an ongoing Huddle, curtailing the spontaneity and flexibility of the communication process. While Huddles was designed to foster spontaneous real-time conversations.
How to Start or Leave a Slack Huddle
Starting a Slack Huddle:
- Navigate to the Slack channel or dm where you want to start a Huddle.
- At the top right of the screen, you will find a phone icon. Click on it, and you'll see the 'Start a Huddle' option. Click on 'Start a Huddle'.
- You've now initiated a Huddle. Other channel members can join by clicking the 'Join' button that appears in the channel or dm conversation.
Leaving a Slack Huddle:
- If you're in a Huddle and you want to leave, navigate to the Huddle window.
- There, you should find an option to 'Leave' the Huddle. Click on it, and you'll immediately be removed from the ongoing Huddle.
How to Join a Huddle or Accept a Huddle Invitation
Joining a Huddle:
- Navigate to the Slack channel or dm where an active Huddle has been started.
- At the top right of the screen, you will see a green 'Join' button (headphones icon). Click on it to join the ongoing Huddle.
Accepting a Huddle Invitation:
When someone invites you to a Huddle, you will receive a message notification in the relevant channel or direct message conversation.
- Click on the channel or dm where you received the Huddle invitation.
- In the message, there will be a 'Join' button (headphones icon). Click on it to join the Huddle.
How to Share Your Screen, Turn on Video, and Take Notes in a Huddle
Slack Huddles primarily supports audio communication for informal discussions and does not directly support multi person screen sharing, video, or note-taking within the Huddle itself on any platform including slack desktop app, android device and other mobile apps.
Joining Slack Huddles from other organizations
To join a Slack Huddle from another organization, you need to be invited to that organization's Slack workspace.
- Join the Workspace: If you are not a member of the workspace where the Huddle is being held, you will first need to be invited by an existing member or admin. They will send you an invitation link to join the workspace, and you must follow the instructions provided to set up your account.
- Switch Workspaces: If you are already a member of multiple workspaces, you can switch between them. On the desktop version of Slack, you can do this by clicking on your workspace name in the top left corner and selecting the other workspace from the dropdown menu. On mobile, tap the three horizontal lines in the top left corner, then tap on the workspace you want to switch to under "Workspaces."
- Join the Huddle: Once you're in the right workspace, navigate to the channel or dm where the Huddle is happening. You should see a "Join" button (headphones icon) at the top of your screen which you can click to join the Huddle.
Are Slack Huddles video calls?
Slack Huddles are not video calls. They are audio-only spaces designed for quick, informal conversations. A Huddle can be started within a Slack channel or direct message to allow for real-time voice communication among participants, but they do not include a video component.
How Many People Can Join a Slack Huddle?
In Slack's free basic account only 2 people can participate in a huddle. Consider Stork's free basic plan where one can have as many Watercoolers (huddle equivalent) as one likes and where Calling as a separate feature is available in addition to Watercoolers. One can also share screen in Stork's Watercoolers and have impromptu meetings.
Informal Discussions in Slack Huddle vs Stork Watercooler
Here is a huddle feature set compared to watercooler for basic free plans:
How to Create Links for Huddles
It is not possible to create a direct link to a Slack Huddle. Huddles are intended to be spontaneous, audio-only spaces for informal discussions within a Slack channel or dm, and they are not designed to be joined via a link like a scheduled meeting or call.
When a Huddle is started in a channel or dm, all members of that channel or direct message are able to see that a Huddle has started and can join it directly from within Slack. If you want to invite someone to join a Huddle, they would need to be a member of the same channel or dm where the Huddle is taking place.
Slack's Huddle requires manual initiation and lacks the potential for spontaneous, 'accidental' meetings
A key difference between Stork's Watercooler feature and Slack's Huddle lies in the initiation process. Stork's Watercooler activates automatically when one person calls another within the Stork platform. This mechanism naturally facilitates spontaneity as it allows a third team member to notice the ongoing call and join in, thus creating a serendipitous interaction. However, if desired, the initial two callers can make their conversation private to restrict others from joining.
In contrast, Slack has phased out the traditional calling feature, leaving Huddles as the primary mode of voice communication. However, initiating a Huddle is a manual process, which eliminates the spontaneous nature of 'accidental' meetings that can happen with Stork's Watercooler feature. As such, the intuitive trigger for serendipitous encounters inherent in Stork's design is absent in Slack's communication framework.FAQ
What is a Slack huddle vs call?
Conference calls are usually scheduled at certain times with an agenda and an attendance list. Slack meetings don't require a calendar and are accessible from any Slack workspace.
Can my boss hear my Slack huddles?
Channels may have private content and can be controlled by admin. In general, private chats can easily be accessed through any user at work. In contrast, chat messages are not visible to any of our colleagues or managers. They are able to read them.
Does Slack huddle use zoom?
Slack also makes a Zoom app for integration on the Integration Marketplace. You can make appointments and talk via Zoom using Slack on the Slack app. Users can chat with Zoom directly on any SM, DM or private network.
What are the benefits of Slack huddle?
Who uses that feature? Create informal, quick conversations on Slack. You can start a group of people on any channel with the use of e-mail to share videos, a shared screen, a dedicated huddle for notes.
Is it better to call or huddle on Slack?
The decision to use a Slack Huddle or a traditional call depends on several factors:
- Size of the group: If you are having a conversation with just one person, a traditional call could be easier. But if you're trying to bring together a larger group, especially if they're all members of the same Slack channel, a Huddle might be more convenient.
- Formality of the conversation: If the discussion is formal and structured (like a scheduled meeting), a traditional call or video call might be more appropriate. Huddles are designed to be more spontaneous and informal, like quick catch-ups or brainstorming sessions.
- Nature of the conversation: Huddles can be particularly useful when the conversation needs to take place over a longer span of time, but doesn't require everyone's full, continuous attention. For example, a group might open a huddle in the background while working on a shared task, so they can discuss issues as they arise.
- Collaboration Needs: If you need to share screens or collaborate on documents during your conversation, then you might find a traditional call or video call using a tool with screen sharing more useful. As of my knowledge cut-off in September 2021, Slack Huddles did not support screen sharing.
- Availability: Huddles for more than 2 participants are not available in Slack's free plan, so whether you can use them might depend on your organization's Slack configuration.