Texting is the preferred method of communication for many Americans. As the most commonly used form of communication among Americans under 50, texting is not only for personal communication anymore. Thirty-nine percent of businesses are using text messaging to communicate with consumers, and even more are using text to communicate with their employees.
Texting is popular for a reason. Unlike emails with an open rate of 17%, text messages have a 98% open rate and a response rate of 45%. The rapid rise of text messaging has changed the way of writing these quick messages. As many texts continue to get less formal, the rules for writing a professional text can get murky. (Some professionals even equivocate Slack threads to text messages—read this article to learn how to use Slack effectively.) To clear to water and make crafting the perfect text easy, read our full guide below.
Texting your boss or co-worker requires more thought than shooting a quick message to your friend. Always start with a goal, focus on your tone, and keep it simple. Keep reading to learn more about the right way to text professionally and what to avoid.
Choose a single goal that you would like to accomplish for each text message. Without a clear purpose, your text could quickly become too confusing and include too many topics. Always cover a single issue at a time.
We’ve all encountered a text that put us on high alert, only to realize what came off as angry was just a friendly message. So try to avoid any sarcasm or negative tone. Instead, keep it light and warm.
Unless you know the recipient well and have texted many times, it’s always best to introduce yourself. Some phone numbers may not have been saved, or they might have forgotten your name.
It’s always best to keep text messages short, but stopping at 160 characters is not only a great tool to know what is too long, but it also will avoid your text being split into messages.
Whether you are texting your co-workers, boss, or a customer, there are four key guidelines to follow for every text. Before you draft that text message, keep these rules in mind.
The beauty of text messaging is that it is quick and easy to do on the go, so writing multiple paragraphs defeats the purpose. Instead, keep your message limited to a few sentences, and for topics that require more discussion, opt for a phone or video chat.
Don’t overwhelm them with too many messages. Only send one message at a time, and don’t contact them too often.
Treat phone numbers as private information, not everyone wants you to have access to it, or they may prefer phone calls over text. When you get someone's phone number, ask whether it’s okay to text them at that number.
If you’re texting is business related, it should stay within business hours. Unless it’s urgent, don’t text them during their time off.
Every generation has a unique texting style and understanding the nuances of how each group interprets your ellipses or emoji isn’t always feasible. So to avoid any misinterpretations, it’s always best to keep it simple and avoid these critical mistakes.
In most professional situations, creating a group message is unnecessary. They often lead to confusing communication and can waste time for those who don’t need to be part of the conversation. Keep communications only between those who absolutely need to be a part of it, and fill anyone else in separately.
Most of us have had an embarrassing autocorrect moment. Don’t be the person that goes down in company history as the person who accidentally sent a message with an embarrassing autocorrect mistake to the whole company. Double-check your entire message before hitting send.
If you don’t hear back in a few days, don’t be afraid to follow up. Most of us are guilty of opening a text and forgetting to respond at least once, so don’t assume silence means you are being ignored.
Adding emojis is a great way to lighten the mood when texting with friends, but keep those smiley faces out of professional texts.
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