Increasingly employees are using text messaging to contact coworkers, managers, customers, and vendors. In general, there is no problem with this – texting is fast, easy and works to get quick messages across.
Recently, when I was on a video shoot. I was able to quickly handle questions and communicate a change of plans through text messages to the crew. It got the change of plans across quickly and efficiently. So, I know it’s a huge help. At the same time, text messaging (like e-mail and social media) can cause problems if handled incorrectly in the workplace.
Here are some guidelines that can help avoid pitfalls. Think about these when you text customers, coworkers, and vendors:
- Make Sure It’s OK Before You Start: Some people are more comfortable with texting for work than others. Make sure it’s OK to send them a work-related text. They may prefer an email or a call.
- Avoid Emoticons and Abbreviation: Work-related text messages should be more factual and more formal. It’s safer for you and avoids confusion.
- Check Spelling (and watch out for AutoCorrect): It’s not a big deal if your text has one or two typos if you’re sending it to a friend of a family member. It can be bad for you (and your company) if it happens with a customer, boss or coworker. So, check your messages before you hit “send”. Don’t believe me? Check out this fun clip from “Ellen”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oivWKzaVOO4
- Respond: Since texting is immediate, people will want to know if you’ve received the message. Make sure you respond to their text promptly.
- Think About Your Tone: Sometimes your humor or your message might be misinterpreted. Make sure you’re clear. Avid humor and sarcasm as it may be misinterpreted.
- Pause and Reread: It's always a good idea to check your text before you hit sent. Read the text to make sure that AutoCorrect hasn't changed anything and that the tone is OK.
- If Your Message Is Complicated, Don’t Send A Text: Think before you start a text message. Is your message long or complicated? If so, maybe a call or an email would be more appropriate.
We have a new training program that can help employees navigate texting at work. It’s called “Your Words Matter.” This program provides practical advice on Test Messages, Social Media and emails. There’s a free preview at our website – so you might want to check it out.
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