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Linda Lauren Headshot

3 Steps to Improve Text Communication

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You've experienced it before -- the tone of a message is off, or you're upset that you're not receiving a text in return to the one you sent and you wind up sitting there for a long time wondering if the person you were texting with forgot you. They did, and chances are that it happened once they typed out what they wanted to say. That happens all too often and it is becoming the norm rather than the exception.

Nothing irks me more than people who leave a text answered after having spent time typing in conversation with you just moments before. It is the rudest thing that people do. And when I complain about it or bring it to attention, I get such understanding votes of confidence in agreement. And then those very people will turn around and do the exact same thing!

So I ask this: How can you have a conversation with someone that you are texting with if you're going to just walk away from the conversation once you got what you wanted from it? Isn't leaving a text conversation incomplete the same as hanging up on someone? Well, it is to me and it should be to you because, if you look around you, text messaging is fast becoming a primary form of communication. People are being hired and fired via text. Relationships are forming and ending with texts. A lot of deals are made and interviews are done by way of text.

According to www.pewinternet.org, 79 percent of American adults have cell phones with 58 percent of those being smart phones. That makes the odds of texting as communication even higher. I've noticed that my own friends are more apt to text me before they will voice call me. I can get through to them immediately via text, but my voice call to that same telephone number will go unanswered.

There is no protocol of courtesy in place for using any kind of instant/text messaging and there should be. Here are some suggestions to make your text experience a good one that won't try your nerves or send mixed signals. They may also help to bring some respect to those on either side of the test message.

Take your time composing your message.
Whether it's dictating or typing, the old adage of haste making waste is true, and in the case of texting, your haste may cause a miscommunication that you may not be able to take back.

Patience and understanding is key.
Have patience and never respond to a text in an angry mode. Often, the person is still typing/dictating or they may not have received a message when you sent it (if at all) because of spotty service in their area. Afford them time to respond to what you type.

Greet and close your dialog.
We usually don't have an issue with opening the dialog via text, but rarely does anyone politely close or end it properly, many times leaving the person on the other end of the text feeling frustrated. A good practice is to come up with something that identifies you with ending the conversation once you and the person you're texting with are done with your "call." For example, I use "XO" or an icon of a crystal ball and a heart as different ways to show I received and acknowledged that we have ended our conversation.

These steps may not seem like a lot to remember, but it's enough to help clear up details within texts and afford you a way to respect yourself and the people you are texting with. The likelihood of being left stranded via text message without any closing or ending is unlikely if you develop the above habits and use them faithfully. Happy communicating!

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