Communications– Just Send Me a Text!

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Texting is preferred communication among those older than 10 years but younger than 55 !  Guess what?  That age group comprises about 55 percent of our current human race.  A Pew Research Center Study indicated that those individuals would rather get a text than a voice call.

So, if you are over 55 and are going to communicate with individuals in that demographic range, knowing how to text is a life skill you must know and, frankly, embrace. Like it or not, our children and grandchildren are digital natives, born since computers have become ubiquitous.  Everyone in the business world has had and still uses some type of electronic device to provide communication, news, navigation, scheduling and entertainment since they learned to read.  It is perfectly natural for most individuals in this demographic prefer electronic to real life for human communications interactions.

The question I pose is: “What is lost when our connected electronic age loses connections with  emotional context? Do not all human beings crave and need that context to make informed decisions?” Maybe we are not just using computerized devices, but emulating them.

Yes, we can learn the technology of today, but we can share the value and timelessness of human interaction with digital natives.

First, how about some best practices to provide emotional context to our text messages? The default for us is to impart a positive, warm tone while still being succinct.  Use a person’s name at the front of the message. Ask questions to suggest interest in the other point of view. Close with an appropriate valediction. Make it clear to your correspondent what’s next.

Does it always work?  No.  If anger, sorrow or frustration are the genuine underlying tones of the message, text simply might not be the best way to communicate.  In cases such as these, we find it best to state the facts very simply then ask for a follow on real-life conversation, either in person or on the phone. You can better understand his or her feelings and they yours. There’s more to the words than letters can convey.

Bottom line? Texting is a way to communicate that is vital in today’s society.  But know that texting does not fully communicate messages in some instances. So balance your text messaging with live interactions. You’ll discover a greater tendency for enduring relationships and connectedness.   You will become an much more effective communicator.

Recall what Peter Drucker once said, “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”

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