DDAR Communication Tools – Overview

Published: 7th May 2020

This is a brief outline of every communication method currently used by DDAR, with a couple of tips and best practice pointers for each. Further links to guides will be added in the near future.



If you’re setting up a Zoom meeting, there are some basic guidelines to follow in order to make it more secure and efficient.

  • Set a meeting password. This ensures only invited colleagues can access the meeting.
  • Schedule meetings for 45 minutes, as this allows colleagues some time afterwards instead of jumping straight on another Zoom meeting.
  • Turn on Waiting Room. This allows the host to screen any new arrivals to the meeting.
  • Lock the meeting once all invited attendees have joined the call.
  • Mute participants, especially if there are many attendees on the call.
  • Make someone a co-host if they need to share their screen.

There also some tips that meeting attendees can follow to make sure things run more smoothly:

  • Mute your microphone when not speaking. This cuts out background noise that may be distracting.
  • Arrive on time to a meeting.

For assistance with Zoom, contact Barry on Slack/email/phone. You can find Zoom guidance here.



First of all, download the app (guide here), as this works much better than using Slack in your browser (link is here).

  • When replying to a post in any channel, always click on ‘Start a Thread’ to begin a thread (hover over the post and choose the second icon).
  • Edit your status, depending on whether you’re currently working, on lunch, done for the day etc.
  • Understand how you get notifications and how your actions will notify others. You can get them sent to your email if you prefer, customise them by channel and pause them totally for a set duration. Anyone replying in a thread will automatically follow it and get notifications, but you can also follow or unfollow threads manually. Notify someone using @ mentions and remember that posting multiple messages is likely to send multiple notifications to channel members. See #help-slack for more.
  • If a thread has lots of replies and seems to be a separate piece of work, consider if it warrants creating a new channel.

For help with Slack, ask your question on the help-slack channel, or if you need help accessing the system/anything else, email Darren or Barry.



We should all be familiar with this by now, however it’s worth bearing a few details in mind.

  • Email remains the default communication method in DDAR and the rest of the University. If you’re not sure whether to communicate an All-Staff message to the Division on Slack or email, the answer is always email, as everyone uses this on a daily basis.
  • Continue to record emails to RE on Smart Outlook (guide here, contact Barry if you don’t have this).
  • Colleagues may be receiving more emails than normal in these times, so, for more informal messages, feel free to use other communication methods such as Slack.

If you need any tips on Outlook/Microsoft Office tools, contact Darren.


Phone Calls

A reliable way of keeping in touch, especially if poor internet hampers video calling.

  • When setting up a meeting, it’s worth offering the option of a phone call, in addition to Zoom. Some people may feel more comfortable using the phone, especially some of our external stakeholders e.g. Donors, Alumni.
  • If you are experiencing some screen/Zoom fatigue, feel free to switch to the phone.

Contact Pauline if you’re having any telephony issues.



Convenient but better suited to social matters than work.

  • Please don’t share any sensitive information/files on WhatsApp.
  • Consider using a Slack channel instead of a work WhatsApp group. Ask Darren for a demonstration of how this could work for your team.
  • Using WhatsApp for work can intrude on your personal life. Consider this before sending someone a work message at 9pm.



This is already used by a number of DDAR colleagues for various reasons, including data/mailchimp requests, organising personal workloads etc.

  • Trello can be useful for managing a team’s tasks, but is primarily a collaboration tool, not a communication tool.
  • Be aware that not all colleagues use Trello, so check before sending something for review on the platform.

For Trello questions, contact Tom Fern or Katie Leatherbarrow.


Email Barry if you can think of anything else to add to this list.