By now, most of us are well-acquainted with Zoom and Microsoft Teams for meeting with our colleagues and students. But did you know that Slack also has virtual meeting functionality, too? No? Neither did I, and I use Slack constantly every day!

Huddle up, folks! This is pretty cool.

I think of huddles as the virtual way to have an impromptu meeting with one, or many, people.

For example, I’d love to walk down the hall (or across campus) and have a quick chat about something, but alas! One of us is working from home . . . or the weather is terrible, and walking across campus in 100-degree heat or below-freezing temperatures does not sound like fun.

Scheduling a meeting with Zoom or Teams can feel like a lot of pressure (stop bullying me, Outlook, with your subject lines, dates and times!) for just a quick meeting to answer one or two questions or to quickly brainstorm a solution as a team.

Slack has your back with the Huddle function!

I’d never really paid much attention to the little toggle and headphones at the bottom of the screen—most of the time, I am just trying to make sure I reply on the correct DM or channel!—but there it is: looking cute and just patiently waiting for us.

Once you click on the DM or channel with the person(s) with whom you’d like to huddle, slide the toggle over to activate the huddle. The huddle will now open in Slack, but if you’d like to see a bigger window (especially if you have more than a few people in the huddle) you can expand it using the new window icon .

If you’re on the receiving end of a huddle request, you’ll note a little blue antenna icon next to the conversation in the sidebar, and you’ll receive a notification. Join by clicking on the channel and toggle the headphones button  on.

Here’s me and James chatting about E.Flo MD and upcoming sessions. (Bet you didn’t know we did that, huh?! )

The Fun Stuff!

Check out the buttons at the bottom of the screen:

Mute? Or hot mic?
Pro tip
Change your settings to auto-mute when you join a huddle in the app preferences
Strike a pose! (Or don't.)
Change this in your app preferences if you don’t like to be on camera as soon as you join a huddle
Share your screen
Multiple people can share their screens at the same time.
Share some reactions with emojis
Extra points if you can make the dolphin jump or the rocketship fly across the screen
Set it up just right

See the great artwork options for backgrounds when you go to Video background.

Take notes along the way in a dedicated Huddle thread, displayed on the right-hand side of the screen. You can chat and share files here, just like you would in a regular Slack DM or channel.
  • Turn on some captions to record the discussion by choosing Show captions. (Note that you will see the captions, but the others will not unless they enable it, too.)
  • Add a topic so you can keep it for posterity or as a helpful aid when inviting people to the huddle (“What did we talk about when we huddled? Remind me?”).

Click the Leave button when you are ready to go, or toggle the headphones icon off. Voilà! Huddle complete!

“Help! I’ve joined a huddle and no one can see or hear me! (And before you tell me to check the app preferences—I did that!!) What’s going on?!”

Ah, yes, the dreaded System Preferences sneak up on us once again! Make sure your computer settings allow Slack to use the microphone and camera .

Note: If you are already in a huddle, you will need to leave, make your changes, and then join again for it to work correctly.

Happy huddles!

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