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The Top Eight Things to Remember when Sending Text Messages


Tags:  Reputation, Working virtually, Text messages

Not so long ago e-mail was king and articles about the proper etiquette when composing an e-mail were flourishing. Now it's about texting.

Well, just like when sending an e-mail, there are definite rules that employees need to keep in mind when they avail themselves of this technology. Here are the top eight things to remember when sending text messages.

Be courteous.  Doesn't seem that difficult to remember, however, it is important to repeat the idea that no matter how the message is delivered – text, e-mail, phone, or face-to-face -- do it in a courteous manner. And in the case of texting don't send messages while engaged in a face-to-face conversation with someone else, unless it's okay for them to interrupt to answer their cell phone. Anyone who doesn't want to IM at a particular moment should consider using an away message.

Be brief. There generally are word and character limits on texting and since it is really meant to be for quick messages – hence the idea behind IMing or instant messaging – then make it short and sweet.  A simple sentence or two is all it should take, especially in business situations.

Be patient. We are all very busy these days, so if a reply is not instantly forthcoming the other person might be otherwise engaged. If the message is so urgent that it requires an immediate response, call them instead.

Be casual. Texting is not appropriate in many work situations because of the casual nature of the technology.As with e-mail and phone calls, consider the method and the message and decide if they are compatible. Texting is not intended for serious messages. Disciplining someone or responding in anger is better dealt with in person. If a user wouldn't write it in an e-mail or letter, than it shouldn't be sent in a text message.

Be careful. Watch the tone, slang, jargon, emoticons, and use of acronyms. Yes, the idea is that this is a quick and easy communication tool.And again, that's why it is more appropriate to personal, rather than professional, use. However, consider who is receiving the message and phrase it appropriately.

Be you. Don't hide behind the technology. Pretending to be someone else is not appropriate.

Be in the moment. Technology has led many of us to go from multi-tasking to mega-multi-tasking. Do not drive and text at the same time. Recent traffic accidents have shown that this can have a tragic result. And avoid carrying on more than one text conversation at a time. It is inconsiderate.

While texting is still not that widely accepted in many organizations, it can be a useful tool to send quick messages to keep others in the loop. The difficulty is in knowing when texting is appropriate and when it is wiser to use another form of communication. The most important thing is to be sure the message is understood.

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