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May 17, 2022

Multi-channel communication methods are here to stay with us particularly in a period like this when meeting face-to-face grows slimmer due to the pace at which much work needs to be done. The relapsing pandemic has also compelled a shift in work structure to the hybrid of generic brick and mortar and remote workplace settings.

These imperatives should make us keener about passing our messages clearly, concisely and respectfully via social media or other texting channels available. 

Even though there could be the bandwagon of too-terse, harried, bulky texting styles, your style should be determined by context and personality, and for a professional who doesn’t want to come across as an unintelligent and semi-illiterate member of the bandwagon, you must hold on to these etiquettes like a breastplate.

Avoid annoying abbreviations
Other than recognised acronyms like UNESCO, NATO and abbreviations such as UK, USA, etc, be cautious with word usages like “omg”, “lol”, “smh”, “brb”, “aiit” “aww” in your vocabulary as an educated professional. These are not only annoying and inappropriate, to say the least, they call to question their user’s spelling ability and diction.

You shouldn’t possibly have these words in your vocabulary. For example, when you get a message like, “These are the files as promised”, the worst response often seen is something like “k.” Just “k”? How about the sense of decency to have dropped an “o” at least, even for an ordinary familiar texter? Note: There’s a thin line between being too familiar in your texting and simply sounding like a semi-literate.

Flee from those scary, bulky strings of texts: You shouldn’t be found responding to or even composing something like:
  1. Hello?
  2. up to anything at the moment
  3. Need your help with something
  4. now
  5. Thought about sending you content articles
  6. To help me look over
  7. Hope you’re game?
  8. Let me know
Highly productive and time conscious executives will find it unpleasant to be hounded by phone beeps for a string of messages from one person saying practically one thing that could be conveyed in a one or two-line sentence. In the same way, no intelligent and productive person with a lot on his plate should compose the same.

How about; “Hello, I have a couple of files I would like you to help me look over. Please, let me know whether it is convenient to send them.”? And, whoever said that the use of subjects and referents— “I”, “We”, have become obsolete? It is still bad grammar to shortcut sentences without subjects as seen in the above, whether we’re in the easy-texting era or not.
Use Monosyllables only when necessary
These are often too terse and often seen as dismissive to the recipient, even though there could be situations in which they are unavoidably necessary.

Cut down on the Emojis
Yes, emojis have been known to have the uncanny ability to convey tones or facial expressions and body languages that are apt for specific scenarios of communication but make sure they are not used too often that they replace your written communication ability, or make you come across as unserious.

And in a corporate set-up, there is a high chance of this being the case. Except you’ve established a profoundly informal relationship with your recipient, cut this down.

Avoid dodgy and exclamatory responses
Say you planned earlier with a colleague to step out for lunch together and when you get a message like “Hello, does our lunch plan still stand,” you go like “oh…” “cool…” or “brb”. The workplace is such an activity-prone environment for this ambiguousness. Speaking of the appropriate use of monosyllables, this is one necessary scenario: a no or yes response, followed by a polite excuse; “No, I can’t at the moment; so sorry I still have a lot on my desk”.
Be Punctuative
How does this read to you: “checked on you at your place a couple of times over the weekend but met your absence hope all is alright with you”. Yes, it’s easy to assume the sentence, because of the specific word choices, has an easy message, but an intelligent person would wonder: “Is it that he is bad with punctuation usage or simply doesn’t care about being misinterpreted?”

The enduring importance of punctuations in rendering clarity cannot be overridden. They are HELPFUL. Not to mention that it’s unethical to assume that your meaning can be grasped as an excuse for typing incoherently.

Quit Delaying responses
Respect people’s time and not leave messages hanging in your DM for too long, especially not from people with whom you’ve had a pre-arranged agreement. There isn’t any worse way to call a bluff of someone. Instead of ignoring the message from the beep, open and read to be sure it’s not worth your time, and give a quick polite response of decline or an excuse to the person.

Finally, proofreading isn’t something you only do with word documents or officially-drafted emails; Consider who your recipient is and the kind of personality you intend to portray of yourself and go over your social media text and SMSs too. It could save you a lot of bloopers and embarrassment.