Never before has instant communication been so readily available and accessible. I simply love the variety of media we have at our disposal to engage with one another. In terms of quick hit conversation, text messaging works well for me.
And, yet… never before has there been such risk of miscommunication! In the past week alone, different friends and I have had no fewer than five complete fails when it came to our texting interactions.
By way of example, in one case, my client said something that made me think she was canceling our upcoming meeting for that afternoon. As such, I nearly failed to show up! It was by complete coincidence that she happened to call about a completely different issue just prior to our scheduled meeting time and we resolved the problem.
In another case, a friend mistakenly deleted an important component of our text “conversation.” As such, we essentially had two completely different dialogues going at once – each from our own unique perspective – each thinking the other was making no sense at all!
Finally, in a third example, that darn “autocorrect” feature on my phone changed my intended words so much that my message carried a completely different – somewhat embarrassing – meaning! Good thing the recipient was a close friend.
In the end and in all the recent situations, things worked themselves out. No surprise, in some instances, my contacts and I shared a good laugh over our miscommunications. That said, I’m hearing more and more frequently that professionals are using text messages to communicate with clients and colleagues – I bristle at the thought of what could go wrong!
So, when using text messaging to communicate with others, especially in a professional context, bear these thoughts in mind:
- Note that text messaging is best reserved for QUICK COMMUNICATIONS. If the topic is of a sensitive nature, if it requires lengthy or protracted dialogue among the parties, a different approach to communication is preferred.
- As a standard text message is only 140 characters, BE MINDFUL of the way your abbreviated language reads on the receiving end. Make sure it conveys your intended message.
- When in doubt, CALL or send a more detailed EMAIL instead of a text message. This is especially true if the response you get seems to make no sense in the context of your original message, come completely out of left field or, frankly, if you are surprised to receive no response at all!
- To my knowledge, there is no way to recall a text message! Before you hit send, carefully REVIEW and RE-READ your texts to ensure they say what you intended for them to say.
- Don’t forget, if you want to keep something CONFIDENTIAL, texting is probably not the way to go. Consider a different communication method if you are unsure who is actually receiving and/or reading your message.
Do you have text messaging, digital communication or similar advice to share? How about your own funny (or tragic!) story of miscommunications? Please take a moment to offer your comments and solutions with the CLC Community at CoffeeLunchCoffee.com. THX!