Texting has steadily been working its way from a casual communication between a connected few to a bona fide business tool.  Still, just because you are finding that everyone from your mom to the VP of your department may be sending you vital messages via text, a few simple parameters will help you be sure that you are using texting in the most appropriate manner for your business.

  • Restrict the use of abbreviations.  A LMK (let me know) here or there is definitely permissible in a text, as it is somewhat fairly understood. However, you probably don’t want to send a message that is chock full of abbreviations.  This isn’t Morse code; it is a short form of messaging. Overuse of abbreviations implies an informality that may not be appropriate for a business situation.  Additionally, your coworkers may not be as familiar as your gym buddies are with some of your abbreviations.  LMAO seems harmless but it also contains a less than work appropriate word.
  • Double-check your spelling before hitting send.  One of the good and bad parts about texting is that it allows for quick communication.  Here is where that helpful autocorrect can work against you.  Don’t sacrifice clear communication in favor of speed.  Check your texts before hitting send to make sure that you haven’t been auto-corrected into a confusing communiqué.
  • Consider the content.  It is best for brief confirmations or simple information exchange.  It is not best for attempting to explain an issue.  Even if you plan to include an emoji to lighten the mood, texting is definitely not the best method to tackle a potentially emotionally charged or sensitive issue.
  • Additionally, if the message is urgent, pass on the texting option and pick up the phone and call.  A little text ping here or there is a notification that is far subtler than when a phone rings, flashes or vibrates to indicate that a call is coming in.  Also, with a call, you can confirm that your message is actively received and understood.

Texting, like any shortcut, is often helpful.  It saves time, but like any other tool or timesaver that you employ, it might not do the trick in every application.