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Slack Connect: Amazing or annoying? Here's how to use it -- and how to turn it off

You can now work with people from other organizations on Slack. Here's how it works.

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Slack workplace communication messaging

You can now use Slack to message people outside your company.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Slack has added a new feature recently that lets you message people outside your company. First announced in October, Slack Connect DMs is designed to help make correspondence between partner companies and clients more efficient. 

Instead of waiting on email responses, you can use Slack Connect to set up dedicated channels, send messages, book meetings and share files. Along with allowing for easier communication, the feature will also reduce your team's exposure to email phishing and spam risks, Slack says. 

If you already use Slack at your job, you might've noticed the new addition, which shows up in the left-hand panel when you open the Slack desktop app. The Slack Connect option has a little white bubble next to it that says New. If you click on Slack Connect, the app will give you a quick rundown of how the new feature works. However, if you're not interested in using the feature, or are afraid of accidentally activating it, don't worry -- you don't have to, or can mute or leave groups. 

How to get started with Slack Connect

1. Click on Slack Connect, and click Create a Channel.

2. Name your channel.

3. Add an optional description of the channel.

4. Choose whether to make the channel private or public. (Note that once you make a channel private, you can't switch back to public.) 

5. Make sure the little box that says Share Outside of (your company's name here) is checked.

6. Click Next, and you can automatically start sending invites by inputting email addresses for folks outside your organization, or within your organization. Add a short message if you want, and click Send

7. Slack Connect will confirm that the invite's been sent and will let you know that the people you invited must accept to join.

From there, people you added will receive your invitation in their email inbox. The invitation expires after 14 days. If the people you invited accept, they'll need to follow the prompts to log in to their own Slack account (or make one if necessary.) According to Slack, it's also possible that your settings might require admin approval to continue as well.

How to stop using Slack Connect

If you no longer need the channel, you can either Mute it in Slack Channel Details (click the little "i" in the top right corner of Slack), or leave it -- just go to the "i," click the three dots for More, and then click Leave group.

Another feature, called Connect DMs, should be coming soon to Slack, allowing several companies to link together to create a private business network with dedicated directories and channel discovery. 

For more, check out the best home office essentials for 2021 and all the best headphones for working at home in 2021.

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