My wife and I send our thoughts and prayers to the victims, their families and the people of Boston. The resilience and strength of the community is inspiring in the face of such a tragedy.
Texting is growing as the preferred means of communication, most certainly in our personal lives but also in our business lives. When used appropriately, it benefits sender and receiver with ever quicker communications. For instance, if I know someone is busy at the moment, a text is a great and a discreet way to ask them to call me when they are available.
But, when used inappropriately, texting has the potential to harm your image and your relationships. In business that co-worker who has seen you texting your friends may one day soon be the person who is promoted and becomes your boss. Not a good image for him or her to have of you.
What and when is it appropriate to text? Here are six tips for business texting.
- Donít text friends while youíre on the job. It may seem you can get away with it. After all, youíre not talking on the phone, so a little surreptitious thumbing isnít going to get noticed. Yes, it is. By colleagues and by bosses. Use your break time or lunch break to respond to texts just as you should use those times to respond to voice messages.
- Watch out for autocorrect. Inane mistakes abound. Avoid getting caught in an autocorrect mistake by always rereading your text before sending it.
- The Bulletin Board rule applies to texts as well as to emails. If you wouldnít put that message on a bulletin board for anyone to read, then you shouldnít be sending it in a text. For sure, the time you send that private text is the time it suddenly goes viral, at least viral within your office, and youíre stuck trying to do damage control.
- What is acceptable content for a text? Apply the Who, What When, Where rule. If itís something factual about who, what when or where, itís fodder for a text, but if itís about why or opinion, then it may be time to pick up the phone or ask to meet in-person.
- Focus on the person you are with. Whether youíre meeting with a client or having lunch with a colleague, put your phone away and put it on vibrate so it wonít disturb your conversation. Your colleague or your client will appreciate that you think he or she is more important than your phone.
- Finally, no texting while driving. Period.
You can follow me on Twitter at @PeterLPost.
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Meet the Jobs Docs
Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.
Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.
Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at WinterWyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.
Tracy Cashman is a partner and the general manager of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.
Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.