Using TIMU with your Team: Communicating Effectively

This week we are going to take an in-depth look at TIMU's tools for communicating with your colleagues, whether you need to send a quick message to a single teammate, or post a weekly status report for everyone in the regional project to see. If you are looking for example use cases, or overviews of the available tools, read on to get a closer look at how to communicate effectively in TIMU!

TIMU has three primary tools for communicating with your team: Discussions, Chat, and Comments. Each has its own strengths and will work well in a different situation. All three communications types have a distinctive icon; take a moment to familiarize yourself with them, then keep reading to learn where each tool works best.

Discussions

When you need to share a report with everyone in the project, or discuss a specific topic in detail with a few of your teammates, use a discussion. Discussions allow you to keep project conversations organized into separate threads. Discussions are contained in their own project module, and new messages from your discussions will also show up in your TIMU mailbox.

By default, newly created discussions will include all project members with access to the module. In situations where not everyone needs to be a part of the conversation, you can narrow your audience by choosing the 'make private' option - the small padlock icon - and then adding the users who you want to include in your discussion.

Chats

Chats are a great way to have a running dialogue with teammates about project activities, or send questions and quick notes to colleagues outside the project. Like discussions, you can have a chat with all members of a project, or create private chats with specific users, and incoming messages will be copied to your TIMU mailbox. The difference is that discussions are separated into topical threads in a project module, while chats are a more general conversation, and not necessarily contained within a project.

Chat modules can be added to a project to create a place for project members to have an ongoing conversation, or you can start a private chat from anywhere in TIMU by clicking the '+ Chat' button at the top of the screen and entering the names of the users you want to include.

Task and File Comments

If you need to give feedback on a file uploaded by a colleague, or you want to add notes to a task, you can post comments directly to that item. In the item's detail pane, look for the comments tab- it is marked with a speech bubble icon.

Message Composition Options

TIMU uses a common interface for posting chats, discussions, and comments on tasks/files. In every ongoing conversation, TIMU gives you two different options for writing messages. The small speech bubble to the right of the reply field allows you to toggle between 'quick' and 'compose' modes. The icon changes color to indicate which reply mode you are in.

The default 'quick' mode (purple icon) is for sending short, quick messages- type your message and press the Enter key to send it.

If you want to send a longer message or need some control over message formatting, click on the speech bubble icon to switch to 'compose' mode (grey icon), where you can apply bold, italic, or block quote styles, as well as create numbered or unordered lists. In this mode, you must click the 'Send' button to send the message; pressing Enter acts as a carriage return rather than sending the message. To switch back to 'quick' mode, click the speech bubble icon again.

More Tips and Tricks

After you've got a firm grasp on TIMU's core messaging functions, there are still a lot of additional features you can take advantage of. Try any of the following:

  • @mentions - when you need to get someone's attention, type @username and they will get a notification for the conversation.
  • attaching files - use the paperclip icon to insert a file into the conversation.
  • accessing profiles - click a user's avatar to open their user profile.
  • URL previews - paste a URL into the conversation and TIMU will automatically generate a preview of the link's destination.

Closing Thoughts

TIMU gives you a lot of ways to keep in touch with your colleagues, and there is a tool for every situation. We've covered a lot of different use cases here, but we can summarize with the following:

  • Use a discussion module in your project to keep conversation topics organized into separate threads
  • Use a chat for quick conversations and running dialogues that aren't confined to a particular topic
  • Use a chat module or public discussion when everyone in the project needs to be able to read your message
  • Use a private chat or private discussion when only certain users need to read your message

We've covered the most common use cases here, but there isn't enough space to cover every scenario. Does your team use TIMU differently than what we've described here? Do you have a question about how to use a certain communication tool or feature? Let us know in the comments section!