I’m going to call a spade a spade. Smartphones have this uncanny ability to make even the most intelligent person look stupid. It’s flabbergasting to me when I think about all of the incredible technological advancements that have been made in this world, but then, it is ultimately the keyboard of a smartphone that makes people look like they either never passed 3rd grade grammar class or have some really fat thumbs. Admittedly, while this might not seem like a big deal to many, at least when talking to friends through electronic means, the fact remains that texting presents a virtual grammatically incorrect minefield—especially in regard to handling business.
Little Things Matter: Texting Tips to Follow
I realize business gets done on the go and, sometimes, sending the quick text to your boss or a prospective client seems like the easy thing to do. However, it can also blow up in your face. So, to text or not to text, that is the question. Here are some tips to follow when making that determination:
- Is the text you are about to send urgent? Always ask yourself this question first, not only to determine if what you need to notify the other person of is important, but also to decide if you might be interrupting someone with your message. Ensure you have a good reason for the text before you decide to compose it.
- Can you send an email instead? Most businesspeople have the ability to check their email several times per day and many individuals who are operating in a professional environment choose to receive an email over a text. Most individuals set aside blocks of time for responding to their messages, and if you send a text, your message might get overlooked or forgotten about.
- Don’t text someone who only emails you. Think about it this way, an old rule of sales is to respond to a prospective customer’s inquiry in the same way they initially reach out to you. If they email, send an email. If they call, pick up the phone. If a colleague, boss or client emails you, you should respond accordingly and that means forgoing the text message. If you have never received a text message from that person, there is a good chance they don’t like to engage in that form of communication.
- If you are going to text, make sure you adhere to grammar rules. If you absolutely have to text, make sure you are checking your grammar. Don’t use abbreviations like “ur” for “you’re” or “your” just because it is easier. Moreover, don’t send LOLs, J, thx, f/u, becuz or any other grammatical or stylistic faux pas just because you can or because you think that, since you are texting, it’s okay to be lazy. Say what you mean and present yourself as a business professional. You don’t want to throw in a ttyl and come across as a texting junkie or, worse, a teenager.
- Do not type in CAPS. IF YOU DO THIS, YOU LOOK LIKE YOU ARE YELLING AND IT COMES ACROSS AS RUDE, INAPPROPRIATE, UNCOMFORTABLE TO READ AND UNPROFESSIONAL. If you wouldn’t send an email in all CAPS, don’t send a text message that way.
- Always employ punctuation. There is nothing worse, no matter if you are texting as a business professional or not, than receiving a message that you have to decipher because you have no idea what the message is trying to say. If you have one long stream of never ending consciousness that doesnt employ any punctuation grammar rules context or proper english you are going to frustrate your reader and you are going to look unprofessional and amateurish and probably lose a customer or business connection see how difficult this is to read makes you want to scream doesnt it use punctuation and dont look like an idiot (Get my drift?)
- Proofread your message. Ultimately, nothing is so urgent that you cannot take a couple extra seconds and ensure that the message is written properly and according to professional business and grammar standards. Be proud of the messages you send and the information you are imparting. Check for misspellings, missing punctuation, improper or inappropriate abbreviations and acronyms and rest assured that your message is received the way you want it to be.
- Consider your tone. Remember, this rule even applies to email. If you think something might come across as angry, sarcastic or inappropriate, it is always best to pick up the phone and call. Speaking to someone will save you a lot of heartburn and worry if you press send and then start to stress about how the message will be interpreted.
- Always include your name. Just because you have someone’s phone number plugged into your smartphone doesn’t mean the receiver knows your phone number. In order to dispel and prevent confusion, include your name in your message.
In closing, if you employ and follow these tips when text messaging in a business environment, you will be viewed as someone who is a true pro. However, I would also encourage using these tips in your personal communications. Practicing these texting rules will certainly assist in preventing your smartphone from making you look like a dummy.
The team at Grammar Chic specializes in a variety of professional writing and editing services. For more information about how we can help you, visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444. We also invite you to follow us on Twitter @GrammarChicInc for the latest in writing and editing tips and to give a “like” to our Facebook page. Text GRAMMARCHIC to 22828 for a special offer.
Amanda E. Clark founded Grammar Chic in 2008. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and holds degrees in Journalism, Political Science, and English. She launched Grammar Chic after freelancing for several years while simultaneously leading marketing and advertising initiatives for several Fortune 500 companies.