Texting is for kids; there’s no place for it in business. Or is there?
It’s true that kids are heavy users, texting hundreds and sometimes a thousand or more texts a month, but adults in business text too. And it’s perfectly fine to do so – as long as you know the other person well enough to have a texting relationship. Never text a stranger prospect that you haven’t met before or don’t have permission to do so.
Texting has an informality about it that walks a fine line between professionalism and over familiarity. Improper grammar? Fairly standard in this channel. Typos? Acceptable when fat fingers miss landing on a side by side key. Wrong words? Common when auto-correct somehow has a mind of its own. The question is: can you live with this self-perception of yourself as a mistake-prone communicator, even as you try to maintain credibility?
Texting is most commonly used when the party wants to avoid an extended conversation. Sad, depressed, in a funk – all times when a text is just the thing, but is it a good thing for business? In a rush, need to deliver a quick answer with no time to type? A text may work, but the nature of rushing leads to mistakes… Is texting a compatible message to go along with your personal brand?
Texting has so many abbreviations, emoticons, symbols, and various meanings – it has its own dictionary, as the laggards try to keep up.
Does anyone really need to know that #:-) means smiling with a fur hat ?
And if I received: /: – | in a text, I would have no idea that the person was “unamused, mildly cross” oops – was it something I said? Or didn’t say?
In a world where it’s hard enough to keep up with the changing lexicon of words and word meanings (remember when being sick was a bad thing, and a cell was to be avoided?) , texting is best left in the realm of personal friendship and not in business communication, even for the stout of heart and technically agile.
Next time the topic is: Kick Your But– do it literally; why and how to stop saying “but”, the effects of “but” and what to replace it with.
QUICK SURVEY: Do you text in business with clients/customers? Leave a quick “yes” (business text more often than once a month) or “no” (text to clients less than once a month) in the comment section, to reflect your current use of this communication channel.