Technology

5 Rules for Texting Anyone You Do Business With

5 Rules for Texting Anyone You Do Business With
Image credit: Shutterstock
Contributor
Author, Business Etiquette Expert and Founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach
3 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Walk into any boardroom two minutes before a meeting and you’ll find the same scenario: a table full of executives checking their phones with their heads bowed in the “smartphone prayer.”

Text messaging is the fastest way to communicate in business. Quicker than email and more convenient than a phone call, it’s become commonplace. But it’s not always the best choice.

Choose to text message for simple notifications or reminders like “I’m running five minutes late,” or “Remember to bring the report.” As a general rule, consider texting only appropriate for a maximum of two messages -- one message and one reply.

Here are five rules to avoid a text message business blunder.

1. Keep it positive.

Like email, the tone of a text message can be misinterpreted by the recipient. Quick messages can make you come off as flippant or harsh. Instead of staccato phrases, write complete sentences. Add polite touches like “please” and “thank you.” Re-read every message before pressing send to double-check your tone (bonus: no embarrassing typos).

Related: Business Dining: The Do's and Don'ts of Splitting the Check

2. Avoid serious topics.

You wouldn’t break up with your girlfriend over a text message -- to be clear, you should not -- and the same goes for business. Never give negative feedback or fire someone via a text message. Any serious conversation should take place face-to-face. It allows for subtle interaction through facial expressions and will ensure clear communication.

3. Don’t abbreviate every other word.

Abbreviations are common in casual texts, but you should be careful how often you use them. Common abbreviations like “LOL” (laugh out loud) and “np” (no problem) are safe choices. However, if you’re communicating with a new customer or acquaintance, take 30 extra seconds and type out each word.

Avoid informal shortcuts like “u” (you) and less common abbreviations like “SMH” (shaking my head) or “MFW” (my face when). Don’t leave your clients and colleagues confused; your texts should convey messages quickly and clearly.

Related: 5 Ways to Be a Better Listener

4. Don’t text a last-minute cancellation.

There are a thousand reasons someone may miss a text message. Don’t depend on a quick note to cancel a meeting or change a lunch venue. For an important or time-sensitive message, pick up the phone.

5. Double-check the autocorrect.

Smart phones can occasionally be a little too smart. Autocorrect and voice-to-text features have a sneaky way of changing your intended message into something entirely different and often embarrassing. When using voice-to-text, ensure you’re in a quiet location. It picks up on background noise and may type a nearby conversation instead of what you’re saying.

Related: The Best Way to Run a Business Meeting

More from Entrepreneur

Jason's expertise and experience can help you with storytelling, motivation, and pitching your business to media.
Book Your Session

In as little as seven months, the Entrepreneur Authors program will turn your ideas and expertise into a professionally presented book.
Apply Now

Are paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.
Get Your Quote Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.