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||Phone Call|
-Checking meeting details
-If a colleague specifies text messaging as preferred communication
-Messages over 160 characters
-Messaging past office hours
-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.
- Professional texting relationships do not imply personal texting relationships.
- Limit texts to office hours only (in most cases). Unlike email, text messages are instant and are not checked voluntarily in an inbox.
- Avoid slang.
- Do not send a text and email. Smartphones receive both on the same device and you do not want to bombard your colleague.
- Send a text one time only.
- 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.