There are few things to consider before sending a text message to your colleagues, clients or even your boss. Here's the list of what to think about before pressing send.
Consider your environment – If you work in an informal work environment, then sending a text message may be appropriate. If you work in a professional setting, then sending a text message to reply about a business related matter, may come off as strange and unprofessional. It depends on the nature of the message and to whom you are sending the message. If you are unsure, then stick to communicating the information in an e-mail or by phone.
Keep it professional – Even though it is only a text message, it is still part of a work conversation. Write in complete sentences and use proper grammar.
High importance and texting don’t mix well – In business, if it is important, then it should not be communicated via text message. Don't communicate big, imperative decisions through text messaging. Anything that requires important details and multiple back and forth communications is best left to e-mail, phone calls or face-to-face meetings.
Don’t send bad news – It may be convenient or easy to give someone a heads-up via text, but it can be perceived as insensitive and too casual.
Hold off on the abbreviations and emoticons – You don’t want your message to seem like you were in a rush to send it or to come off as being too unprofessional .
Don't send a novel – If your message takes up more than three sentences, then sending this lengthy message by text should be out of the question.
Reread and reread – Before you send a text message, reread it. Autocorrect and voice-to-text can create some horrible misunderstandings, so always proofread your messages.
We are also living in a time where technology lets us off the hook. If we forget an appointment, we can blame it on "the email I never received".
Technology is meant to enhance communication, not diminish etiquette. Here are a few tips that will keep technology from damaging your relationships and credibility.
Running Late- Occasionally there will be a time we will run late due to an unforeseen circumstance. Today people are using technology to let others know they are not on time. This can be through a text message, email or even social media. Technology has made it possible for people to get into a habit of running late simply because they know they can send a quick text. The correct thing to do is to pick up the phone and call to inform the other person that you are running behind, not to rely on any form of technology to pass along that message.
Cancelling- With over 6.8 billion cell phone subscriptions in the world, using technology as a scapegoat is now easier than ever. Technology has made it easy to ignore others and to not feel badly about cancelling plans. If you need to cancel plans, call the person as soon as possible. Whether or not you are meeting one person or a large group, if you must cancel, do it in advance... not showing up without a reason is unacceptable.
No Response- Have you ever heard someone say "Oh I didn't receive your message?" Well then, you have just been caught in the midst of:
Technology has enabled us to give an extremely delayed response or sometimes no response at all. If someone reaches out to you, please respond to them within a timely manner. If you are sending a message of high importance and you do not hear back from the person, a follow up message or phone call is due on your part. We should not automatically think that the person is blatantly ignoring the message.
Lost Art of RSVP- To email or text an RSVP instead of filling out the card sent to you is so rude. If someone takes the time to send you an invitation and they request a specific RSVP, then you need to respond in kind.
Delivering Bad News- Although a text message or email may be the easiest way to deliver bad news, it is not the correct way. Instead of sending out a mass message about a grievance, pick up the phone and call the individuals. Hearing the sound of your voice can make a huge difference.
Dishonesty- While technology has made it easier to cancel plans, it has also made some of us dishonest. If you have to cancel plans be upfront about it instead of making up an excuse. It is not ok to cancel plans and then use social media to show you at another event because you found it more "fun" than your original plans. Please consider the other person's feelings.
Technology is here to stay. It is our job to figure out how to use these forms of communication without letting them damage our relationships. One of the best ways to not let technology damage your relationships is to stick to your word. If you commit to being somewhere at a certain time, then be there.
A common understanding of etiquette has been drastically morphed over the years. It seems as though today’s younger generation is characterized by rudeness, compared to traditional standards of etiquette. Many people believe that technology plays a central role in the decline of good manners and the media agrees.
The integration of technology and social media into nearly each and every act of interpersonal communication, particularly among young people, is changing the common understanding of what is considerate behavior and what is inappropriate. The less face-time people have with others, the less accountable they are for their behavior. If someone is rude or inappropriate online, they may never have to answer for their behavior in-person. It is difficult to understand the virtual implications of inconsiderate treatment.
With mobile technology, people can expand their social circles and connect instantaneously with anyone. While the number of friends we have may be increasing, often the quality of those friendships, particularly with those people we actually do see face-to-face, is declining. The more time people spend expanding their circle of friends online, the less time they spend cultivating healthy and satisfying relationships in person.
Mobile communications and social media have re-shaped the understanding and awareness of etiquette both virtually and in-person. Have you ever been invited to spend time with someone, then been ignored by that person because they were texting or calling others? If so you have witnessed the effects of technology on interpersonal communication. The Internet, mobile devices, and social media are critical to us and for businesses.
Don’t ever forget that face to face interactions are just as important. Make the goal of your day focus on kindness, courtesy and consideration for everyone you meet – virtually and in-person.