I’m only 34 years old, but most of my team is about 10 years younger than I am. The generation gap is bigger than you might think. I’ve been using an iPhone for over four years now, and cell phones since college. You would think texting was one of my primary forms of communication. I might have thought it was, but in reality it wasn’t.
Verbal communication and detailed emails were still my go-to forms off communication. I was horrified when I began to have team members text me questions, or even worse, text me when they were “calling” in sick. That sort of communication was never acceptable in my previous job, nor was it acceptable in my mind, but over time I began to embrace the text message. Although I still don’t allow my team to call in sick over text. That still warrants a phone call.
Here is why I’ve decided to succumb to the generation gap and embrace texting:
- Texting is quick and easy. It takes seconds to send a text, versus a few minutes to draft an unnecessarily wordy email…. texting is to the point!
- It’s timely. Lets say you need a quick response to a simple question. A text is more likely to get a quicker response than email, as not everybody is sitting in front of his or her email all day.
- Less distracting. Lets say I’m in the middle of a project and I randomly think of a question I need to ask a team member. I can quickly fire off a text without diverting my attention away from the task at hand for very long. If I open my email, I’m more likely to get distracted by other emails. Texting takes away less of my attention from the important tasks at hand.
- Like email it allows people to respond when they are available. For example, one of my team members drives around town dropping off orders. I would much rather send her a text with a question that she can respond to at a delivery drop, rather than call her and distract her from what she is doing: either talking to a customer or driving to the next location. Plus I will get a quicker reply than sending an email.
What it all boils down to is quick, easy, effective communication. Simple questions, call for simple answers, which can easily be transmitted through a text message. Plus, this form of communication is becoming more widely accepted and has become an alternative of sorts to email. So, if you are struggling to accept text messaging as an effective way to communicate, I think it’s time to give in.
Disclaimer: I believe texting should be left to friends and team members (and the occasional client). I would never text a vendor asking, “where is my order?” There are certainly situations that are not acceptable for texting.