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Getting Textual: The Unwritten Rules of Texting You Should Know

Getting Textual: The Unwritten Rules of Texting You Should Know

Texting is something that is here to stay. It doesn’t matter if you’re using Whatsapp, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, or good old fashioned text messaging because they all rely on the same premise–conducting conversations with text over a messaging service. Unlike calling or emailing, texting has its own set of rules that you should follow to have the most effective conversations.

Keep it short

The Unwritten Rules of Texting You Should Know

    In the standard text format, a single message can be between 140-160 characters. Sometimes you run a little long and you have to send multiple texts. However, if you find that you’re texting so much that it turns into a multimedia message then you should probably just call or email the other person. Texts are short communiques designed to relay details quickly. They’re not meant to be novellas.

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    Don’t flutter-text

    Flutter texting is a somewhat new term that describes the practice of sending a text at the end of every sentence. This may not seem so bad, until you have someone sending you five or six sentences. That’s five or six texts that come floating in. This causes phones to vibrate and shoot off the ringtone a bunch of times. It’s highly obnoxious. You should put the whole message in a single text because people may not appreciate their phone going off that many times all at once.

    Text to confirm plans but not to cancel

    When you confirm a plan, people are expecting you to get a hold of them so they are more likely to be paying attention to when they get a message. On the other hand, if you decide to cancel, they may be on their way to the event or be setting up. That means they’re not paying attention to their texts. Cancelling at the last minute deserves a phone call so they know that it’s happening.

    Don’t end a relationship over a text

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    The Unwritten Rules of Texting You Should Know

      There are just some things a person should never do. Ending a relationship over a text message is one of them. That is a serious life change for most people and the person you are breaking up with deserves to have the news delivered to them face to face.

      In fact, don’t deliver bad news ever over text

      Don’t tell someone a relative or a friend has passed away over a text. Don’t tell your parents you crashed the family car over a text. Anything that could be considered bad news on practically any scale should be delivered either in person or in a phone call. Sending a text to someone to deliver any bad news is a cop out. They deserve the news face to face.

      Don’t keep texting if someone doesn’t reply right away

      This one can be hard to do because impatience is a thing that we all have to some degree. However, people are not married to their phones 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Sometimes they may be in the bathroom, at work, or driving. Before you freak out and think that they’re ignoring you, give them a while to get to you. Sending texts over and over again looks really bad and it’ll do nothing but irritate the other person.

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      Use proper grammar and punctuation

      Unless you’re in high school it isn’t really en vogue to send butchered, shortened texts that barely anyone can understand, especially if you’re texting your boss, coworkers, or people who are older than you. Your grandmother doesn’t know the lingo and most business people consider it unprofessional. It’s good practice because we could all use a little brush up on our grammar and spelling every now and then.

      There is a time and a place for everything.

      If you know someone is sleeping, then you probably shouldn’t text them. The notification may wake them up and then you’ll just be dealing with one angry friend or relative. People at work should be receiving short messages so it doesn’t affect their productivity. Don’t text people when they’re driving because it could be dangerous for them. There is a time and a place to send certain texts.

      Double check the auto-correct

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      The Unwritten Rules of Texting You Should Know

        There is absolutely no reason why you should be one of those people who sends ridiculous texts. It’s just laziness. It has been documented repeatedly that auto-correct can turn an innocent text into something terrible. Make sure you read the message you’re sending before you hit Send. You don’t need your boss receiving some inappropriate text because your auto-correct turned a totally innocent word into a dirty one.

        Wrap up

        At the end of the day, people will text how they text. Just because you follow these rules doesn’t mean that other people will too. That said, you can serve as a role model to others and influence them to text more like an adult.

        Featured photo credit: text message/Class Action Central via classactioncentral.com

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        Joseph Hindy

        A writer, editor, and YouTuber who likes to share about technology and lifestyle tips.

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        Published on May 18, 2021

        How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

        How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

        We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

        The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

        Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

        Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

        Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

        There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

        Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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        Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

        We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

        Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

        A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

        The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

        Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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        Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

        Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

        Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

        While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

        Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

        These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

        Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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        Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

        Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

        Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

        Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

        Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

        Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

        As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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        This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

        Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

        Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

        These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

        Actions Speak Louder Than Words

        Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

        Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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        Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

        More Tips Improving Listening Skills

        Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

        Reference

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