Utilizing Text Messaging Professionally

I love text messaging. And statistics show I’m not alone. According to a study from The Nielsen Company, teenagers (13-17) send an average of 3,339 text messages per month. Studies focus on text messaging in young generations but adult texting is on the rise. Adults (45-54) send and receive an average of 323 texts a month. This is a 75% increase from the previous year (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Text Usage by Age

The texting revolution in the personal lives of all age groups has infiltrated modern business communication. It is important to understand when to text rather than call, as well as, how to send a professional text message. Tips on when to text, email, or call are in the chart below.

Text Message Email Phone Call
-Quick connections 

-Checking meeting details

-If a colleague specifies text messaging as preferred communication

-Formatted messages 

-Communicating concepts

-Messages over 160 characters

-Messaging past office hours

-Serious conversations 

-Emotional conversations

-If in a rush (avoid errors in text messages)

If you decide to use text messaging, there are many guidelines on how to text a colleague correctly. We all text our friends and family, but here are some transitioning tips on how to text colleagues in the modern business world.

  1. Professional texting relationships do not imply personal texting relationships.
  2. Limit texts to office hours only (in most cases). Unlike email, text messages are instant and are not checked voluntarily in an inbox.
  3. Avoid slang.
  4. Do not send a text and email. Smartphones receive both on the same device and you do not want to bombard your colleague.
  5. Send a text one time only.
  6. Appropriate word choice is essential. You should edit a text message as if it were an email.

Text messaging is an instant and effective mode of communication in modern businesses. When used appropriately, texts can accentuate, not replace, communication between professionals.








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3 Responses to Utilizing Text Messaging Professionally

  1. cpavlich says:

    I used to think text messaging. was very unprofessional and should never be used in the workplace. Recently, though, I realized its true value. I have a variety of group projects going on in multiple classes right now and text messaging has become my lifeline. It allows for the quick, convenient scheduling of meetings no matter where I am. All of the team members can text each other when and where they can meet. The whole scheduling process can take literally only minutes because everyone always has their cellphones with them. I now believe that text messaging can be a valuable asset in the business world that will improve both efficiency and productivity. Thank you for writing on such a contemporary, interesting topic!

  2. It is undeniable that the intentions behind many text messages are very “fuzzy.” I think this problem arises because nonverbal communication is lost in text messaging. The tone of the person you are communicating with is sometimes misinterpreted. I enjoyed the advice and guidelines you provided to make the line between professional and casual texting clear. I had never thought of the unspoken rule of only texting during office hours. The concept makes complete sense, I just have yet to be in a work environment where this would arise. Thanks for giving advice and educating your readers on how to incorporate this seemingly social form of technology into the work place!

  3. rmasonb1 says:

    A very good guide to explain the appropriate use of text messaging in the workplace. I know that this can be a confusing topic, so thank you for the simple and easy-to-follow rules for text messages. I have found that text messages are invaluable as a college student, as they are quick, more efficient than e-mail, and convenient. These guidelines can help new members of the workplace uphold professional standards while not sacrificing the convenience of text messaging.

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