Should Texting be Part of Interpersonal Communication?

Texting is very much a part of the daily communication ritual of many people. And for quick I’m-on-my-way messages, it makes sense. However, when texting becomes your primary method of interpersonal communication, it’s time to rethink your communication methods.

Text Messages: Good Business or Bad News?

In the article, Decline in Face-to-Face Communication at Work, freelance writer and human resources consultant Deborah S. Hildebrand notes…

…businesses are so wrapped up in devising ways to connect people around the world that some workers fail to make quality connections with the people who work in the cubicle right next door. After all, most employees have sent an email or text message to their workplace neighbor, right? Is this just efficient and good business sense or are employees too lazy and impatient to take the time to connect with those who sit just a few feet away?

Communication Professor Ellen Breman concurs. In her post, “Did Your Last Text Deserve a Talk?” she suggests that while some texting is convenient, “rich” interpersonal communication includes verbal and nonverbal cues. Texting isn’t appropriate for all messages.

In fact, both writers agree that texting is often used as a way to avoid confrontation. The difficulty is that the recipient may feel undervalued or they may misinterpret the intent. This can ultimately lead to conflict.

While some workplace conflict is inevitable and can lead to positive change, inappropriate texting can heighten an already difficult situation especially if a conflict is the primary reason two people avoid face-to-face communication.

Texting Can Complement Personal Communication

Naturally, there are benefits to texting at work. If you have multiple locations or teleworkers that interact, texting offers a quick response time and a quieter work environment for employees who need to share private, frequent, and brief communications. However, make sure there are ground rules.

In the Microsoft Business article, 10 Tips for Using Instant Messaging for Business, writer Monte Enbysk suggests having a policy. We suggest one that outlines:
  • How to use texting appropriately
  • Types of texts that are acceptable (personal vs. work-related)
  • Consequences of misuse
Texting is a useful tool that can enhance work and complement communication. Let us show you how to build a team with solid interpersonal communication skills.

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