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Mar 01 2016
12 Tips for Using Text Messaging in Business
Melissa Mickelsen, CCE, Geneva Rock Products, Inc.

The instant communication that text messaging provides is extremely alluring and satisfying, and texting is already becoming a standard method of communication, even in the business world. However, just as with any other form of communication, texting brings its own set of challenges. Below are some tips on how to best use text messaging in a business setting.

1. Always re-read your text message before hitting send. Auto-correct isn't always a friend and it's very easy to mistype, especially when you're in a hurry, and completely change the message or tone of your text.

2. Always verify your recipient. As with email, it is critical to ensure your text is going to the right person. A misdirected text can lead to a very embarrassing situation or create unnecessary confusion.

3. Sign your text if you're not 100% positive the recipient has your number saved as a contact in their phone. Adding your name to the end of a text avoids any questions and can save you both time in the end.

4. Avoid using abbreviations and emoticons in a business setting. Not everyone will understand an abbreviation, leading to potentially awkward situations or confusion. Abbreviations and emoticons can also seem unprofessional, so they should be used very sparingly, if at all, in the business world.


5. Never use a text message to communicate bad news. Text messages leave too much to interpretation and the tone of a message can be easily misunderstood. Bad news should always be delivered in a way that allows for sensitivity and in a way that cannot be misconstrued.

6. Use proper punctuation and grammar. Text messaging in a business setting should always be professional. Missing punctuation or incorrect grammar can make a text difficult to read or understand, and will often leave a bad impression.

7. Be aware of tone, and always use please and thank you. Use complete sentences to avoid sounding abrupt. Proper use of please and thank you demonstrates respect for the individual and their time.

8. Avoid sending last minute information via text. Communicating a change in a meeting time or location with a text message is only effective if the other party receives the information in time, and not everyone checks their phone constantly. Last minute information should only be sent in a text if you're positive the recipient will see it. If in doubt, pick up the phone to ensure the information is received in a timely manner.

9. Avoid sending unnecessary texts to business contacts and remember that texts can be interruptions. Most of us have our phone within arm's reach at all times and we've been conditioned to check it whenever we hear the ping that signals a new message. This can easily throw off a good work flow. Be mindful and respectful of others' schedules and time, and ensure the text you're sending is needed.

10. Avoid sending texts after business hours. Obviously, this is only applicable in a business setting, but because we always have our phones with us, it's not fair to pull someone away from family time, a hobby or some other activity for a business text after hours if it's not absolutely necessary.

11. Return texts timely. One of the benefits of using text messaging is instant communication. When possible and appropriate, make an effort to return a text message in a timely manner to avoid frustration on the other end.

12.  Finally, when in doubt, ask the individual if they're okay communicating via text. Not everyone likes text messaging or feels comfortable using it. If you text a business associate and receive an email or phone call in response, that's a good sign that they'd rather not text. Be respectful of their wishes and follow their cues.

Text messaging is a valuable communication tool that allows for a quick and concise relay of information, but it must be used wisely to avoid confusion or frustration. Taking an extra moment or two to review and verify before hitting send will allow texting to be used effectively and professionally in a business setting.