Virtual teams don’t have the liberty to have face-to-face interactions like their in-office counterparts. They rely on various tools to communicate with one another from their remote locations.
Due to the differences in locations and time zones, phone calls aren’t always the best. Texting is a better alternative, as team members can send messages at any time without inconveniencing one another. But text-only communication isn’t perfect, either. It misses the mark if certain factors aren’t taken into consideration.
In this article, we discuss how virtual teams can use text-only communication more effectively.
How Texting Improves Communication Skills
Texting brings a different feel to the communication table. There are two major ways text-based communication improves communication. Let’s take a look at them.
There are two major ways text-based communication improves communication.
1. Enhance Reading and Writing Skills
Using shorthand and emoji is the trend in texting, especially for informal chats. This method of texting pulls you away from the use of proper English.
When communicating with your boss, coworker, or business associate, you don’t communicate with them as you would with your friends or significant other. You’re required to write in proper English, which requires complete rereading and restructuring. This also helps keep a more formal tone in communications.
2. Encourage Clear-Cut Communication
Text-only communication also creates clear-cut communication skills. When communicating through text, you are forced to stay on point with your communications. Since your intention is for business purposes, there’s no room for exorbitant words or sentences.
The 7 Tips for Using Text-Only Communication for Virtual Work
With texting being a vital part of remote work, it’s important to understand how to make it even more effective. If done the wrong way, your team suffers communication lapses that disrupt your workflow. Here are a few tips to help you make your messages simple and comprehensive.
1. Avoid the Use of Shorthand
No matter how close you’re to your business associates or colleagues, communications with them shouldn’t be informal. Using unnecessary abbreviations or shorthand in your messages portrays an unprofessional outlook.
You don’t have to be extremely rigid with your messages, but using abbreviations like “U” instead of “You” in a work-related conversation is unethical. This could be a major turnoff for most people who expect unified and structured text-based messages.
2. Use Caps Appropriately
Capital letters are suitable for certain purposes in writing. Using capital letters throughout a sentence is one of the pitfalls you should avoid in texting. Since we’re used to reading lowercase text, it isn’t easy to read all caps text.
An all-caps text also gives a fierce undertone to your message. It looks like you’re angry or shouting at the receiver. If you’re to post on social media, writing your text in all caps makes you seem like an attention seeker.
3. Make Good Timing
Text-only communication gives you the privilege to reply to a message at your convenient time. However, it shouldn’t be at the expense of your receiver.
For instance, it’s inappropriate to send a text message in the middle of the night or at the early hour of the morning unless they specifically tell you that it’s not a problem. You shouldn’t expect a quick reply to that sort of message. It’s best to send all work-related messages during business hours.
4. Avoid Long Sentences
The most well-written grammar gets boring if it’s overly lengthy without breaking paragraphs. People’s attention span can be lower than a goldfish’s. A voluminous text message may make them skim through the content instead of reading it.
Skimming can cause them to miss important details in the message, altering your intention as the sender.
5. Use Emojis Only When Necessary
Emojis aren’t bad. As a matter of fact, they have impacted the way we communicate positively. Emojis help you express certain emotions aptly.
When sending a work-related text, you don’t have to eliminate the use of emojis in your text completely. Instead, you should know when it’s suitable to use them, so you don’t create a wrong impression. If you aren’t sure of when to use them, leave them out.
6. Don’t Make Assumptions
In texting, there’s a tendency to assume when and how the receiver will respond to your message. Doing this can affect your mood negatively because their response might be entirely different.
No matter how late your receiver takes to reply, never assume what they are thinking. Wait till you hear from them. You can send a reminder if it’s urgent.
7. Proofread Your Message
Don’t be in a rush to press “send” without proofreading your message. It’s very easy not to notice tiny errors in your write-up, so take your time to catch and correct spelling and grammar mistakes.
It takes more time to resolve the problems caused by a poorly written SMS, chat, or e-mail than to get it right the first time. Tired of proofreading your messages manually? Grammarly is very helpful in this regard.
The 3 Best Text-Only Communication Tools You Can Use
The growing popularity of remote work has seen the introduction of several workflow tools in recent years. Some of these tools do a great job of giving virtual teams the opportunity to thrive on their jobs with text-only communication. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Primarily a messaging app for businesses, Slack allows team members to converge under one roof for work purposes. It offers the opportunity for one-on-one communication between two members as well as group communication with three or more members.
If you are working on projects with a selected few, you can limit communication within those people in a dedicated space called channels. Members in the room can communicate freely without worrying about other team members accessing their messages.
Microsoft Teams is a chat-based workflow tool for business communications. Suitable for virtual teams, it allows team members to collaborate on tasks with the opportunity to share work files and documents.
Catering to the different communication needs of virtual teams, team members can chat with each other individually and also chat in a group when collaborating on projects. Different levels of access can be granted to team members based on their involvement in projects.
Basecamp is an online communication and workflow tool. A good choice for virtual teams, it allows team collaboration using text-only communication.
You can delegate tasks to specific workers and communicate with them individually. In the same vein, team members can collaborate on tasks and communicate openly with everyone in the loop of what’s going on. It also offers task reminders that propel teammates to meet deadlines.
Focus on Important Information With Text-Only Communication
Answering numerous work-related phone calls eats up your time more than you think. You end up talking about unproductive things long after the message has been passed across.
With text-only communication, you write only the important details that are needed. Everyone gets the information they need to be efficient on the job. There’s little or no room for miscommunication, as the words are clearly spelled out for all to see.
Are text-only communication tools the right solution for your workplace? Here are some pros and cons to consider.
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