Two words: professional texting.
The professional texting phenomenon has become so prevalent today that it is almost the norm. We text our coworkers, bosses, clients, and employees on a regular basis.
What are the rules for these kinds of texting interactions? Texting etiquette is difficult enough when it comes to your average, everyday interactions. Now we're throwing our professional life into the mix.
Huffington Post published a helpful article about professional texting etiquette. I borrowed some of that article's ideas and came up with my own list.
Watch your timing
The Huffington Post article mentioned the importance of paying attention to timing when you send your professional messages. In most cases, you should only text during business hours. People generally don't want to be bothered at home when they're not working. Texting after hours exudes unprofessionalism.
Ditch the abbreviations and emojis
It is perfectly acceptable to use silly abbreviations (such as lol or ttyl) when texting your spouse or buddies, but when it comes to the professional texting world be extremely careful! Use common sense, folks, to know if your recipient will be receptive to your informal messaging style. But in most cases, avoid texting lingo and emojis altogether.
Texting is all about being brief, brief, brief! In a professional setting, no one wants to read a novel-length text message. Keep it short and to the point. Long conversations are meant for email or voice interactions.
Huffington Post said, “If your message is more than a couple of sentences in length, a phone call or email is probably better. Not only do long texts get broken apart and sent in random order, but they defeat the purpose of this tool, which is to communicate short messages quickly.”
Avoid group texting mayhem
Group texts are the bane of every texter's existence. We've all been on the receiving (and initiating) end of those group texts that go on and on and on. Your phone chirps all day long because you're receiving responses to the group text from people you don't even know! Avoid this like the plague for professional texting.
Going along with the no-emojis rule, it's generally based to ditch informality as much as is feasible in your professional texting. You want to represent yourself well, and maintaining an aura of professionalism is always in your best interests.
Save the tough conversations for another medium
Conversations that require relaying of difficult or confidential information should not be done via texting. At the very least these kinds of conversations should be done via email, or better yet, a phone call or in-person. Huffington Post pointed out, “[R]emember that your words can live on forever in a screenshot. Once you hit send, it’s out of your control.”
Watch out for overtexting
Avoid overusing and abusing the texting avenue. It can get extremely annoying to receive message after message from the same individual. You don't want to be that person who causes people to groan in exasperation when they receive your messages. “What do they want now?”
Keep your cool
Never never never go off on someone in a text message. You might as well put a sign on your head that says, “I am an unprofessional dunce.” This is a huge turnoff and completely avoidable. The solution is simple: never text when you're feeling emotional!
Don't dally when replying
It is polite to reply as soon as is convenient. Huffington Post pointed out that usually when someone texts there is a “sense of immediacy.” Don't wait several hours to respond if you're able to respond within a few minutes. Be someone that people can rely on to reply in a timely manner.