TEXTING: Business Communication Tool?

10.29.14 texting,jpegTexting 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.

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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.

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