Work Texting: Etiquette and Timeliness
These days, having a cell phone in your pocket is the norm over having a landline at home. The same is true for having a cell phone in the office as well. Knowing this, what is the best way to communicate with an employee, coworker, or client? When trying to reach someone for work-related matters, depending on the situation, we want them to see it as soon as possible. Sending a text message is quick and easy, but is it professional? Here are some tips for work-related texting and etiquette to help you keep it concise and professional.
What is Your Preference?
It is no secret that most working Americans prefer a quick text over a phone call or email. In fact, when employees use cell phones for work purposes, managers and executives say they see a 34% increase in productivity. But as professionals, we cannot lose touch with human interaction. If you need to reach a client, colleague, or employee for a work-related matter, it is always best to give them a call first. Keeping that line of communication open may not only resolve matters quickly, but it also fosters and maintains a relationship between yourself and the person you are speaking with. If you are not able to reach the person, the next step would be to follow up with an email or text message.
When working with others knowing they have a work phone or a personal device, they may disclose to you that sending a text is the best way to reach them. If not, depending on your relationship with the person, you may be able to gauge their preferred way to communicate after attempting a phone call. If your next step is sending a text, here are some of our favorite etiquette tips to keep your messages professional and on target.
Don’t Hide Behind the Screen
While texting is efficient, know the difference between when it is appropriate to share information with someone via phone call or text. We get it, life happens but sending a text to cancel an appointment or decline an offer is not appropriate usage of this form of messaging. It is always difficult to share disappointing news but be respectful of others’ time and share that information over a phone call.
Keep It Brief
Text messages are essentially to be able to send quick follow-ups or share information that can be acknowledged without speaking on the phone. However, if you find that your message is over a few sentences… it is a paragraph, meaning you should probably talk about it over the phone. Although texts are meant to be quick and efficient, avoid abbreviations and slang in your messages to avoid any confusion.
Don’t Text Confidential or Private Information
After you hit send, there it is in writing, on the screen. If you are thinking about sharing private or confidential information through text, think again. Just because it is meant to be seen by one, does not guarantee that it will not be shared or seen by others. Requesting a phone call to share this information is more assuring.
Give It Time
When discussing business matters over text, you may expect to receive a more immediate response. Give it time! Texting during working hours may not be as productive for others, they will respond to you as soon as they can. Put it down and be productive elsewhere while waiting for the response.
Sometimes, conversations can get tense. There is no way to interpret someone’s tone via words on a screen. In this case, before responding in an emotional manner, take a moment to gather your thoughts. Put yourself in a position to respond with grace and professionalism or request a phone call for clarification. For the sake of your professional relationships, you won’t regret it.
These tips are all dependent on your working relationships with other professionals but are important to keep in mind! If you are seeking a change in your career or need job search assistance, please give us a call at (518) 275-4816!
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