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Text messages and e-mails are part of our communication landscape, and skilled business communicators consider them a valuable tool to connect.
Whatever digital device you use, written communication in the form of brief messages, or texting, has become a common way to connect. It is useful for short exchanges, and is a convenient way to stay connected with others when talking on the phone would be cumbersome. Texting is not useful for long or complicated messages, and careful consideration should be given to the audience. Although texting will not be used in this class as a form of professional communication, you should be aware of several of the principles that should guide your writing in this context.
When texting, always consider your audience and your company, and choose words, terms, or abbreviations that will deliver your message appropriately and effectively.
Tips for effective business texting
- Know your recipient. “? % dsct” may be an understandable way to ask a close associate what the proper discount is to offer a certain customer, but if you are writing a text to your boss, it might be wiser to write, “what % discount does Murray get on $1K order?”
- Anticipate unintentional misinterpretation. Texting often uses symbols and codes to represent thoughts, ideas, and emotions. Given the complexity of communication, and the useful but limited tool of texting, be aware of its limitation and prevent misinterpretation with brief messages.
- Contacting someone too frequently can border on harassment. Texting is a tool. Use it when appropriate but don’t abuse it.
- Don’t text and drive. Research shows that the likelihood of an accident increases dramatically if the driver is texting behind the wheel.  Being in an accident while conducting company business would reflect poorly on your judgment as well as on your employer.
Chapter Attribution Information
This chapter was derived by Annemarie Hamlin, Chris Rubio, and Michele DeSilva, Central Oregon Community College, from the following sources:
- Online Technical Writing by David McMurrey – CC: BY 4.0
- Professional Writing by Saylor Academy – CC: BY 3.0
- Houston Chronicle. (2009, September 23). Deadly distraction: Texting while driving, twice as risky as drunk driving, should be banned. Houston Chronicle (3 STAR R.O. ed.), p. B8. Retrieved from http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/Deadly-distraction-Texting-while-driving-should-1592397.php↵