Have you ever wondered how to fool-proof your texts? You know what I mean -- you say one thing and it's totally misunderstood. Or they don't get the joke.
The speed and ease of technology can fool you into thinking that what you type will give you what you want. If you request an Uber, a car magically shows up. Hit Shazam and your song gets identified. Type in an address and Google Maps sends you where you want to go.
But send a text -- and you might end a long distance relationship. Or lose a job. Or piss off a relative.
The problem with texting -- other than misspells and auto correct -- is the lack of context. So much of human communications is based on facial expressions and voice tonality -- and without those two things -- it's very difficult to read nuance. Here are few tips to help you write texts that are received exactly as you meant them to arrive -- improving not only the effectiveness of your communications -- but people will like you better for it.
1. Use emojis
Smileys. Pandas with signs. Images of planes, trains and automobiles. Emojis are not only often adorable -- they are amazingly clear. In fact, linguists say it's the first new language to be invented in a very, very long time.
Emoji's may feel adolescent or strange at first, but once you get going -- you'll see it's a crystal clear short cut that saves you the trouble of old fashioned "words. For example, here's an old way vs. the new emoji way.
Hey, nice to meet you, hope to have a drink soon.
Hey, grt meeting you.. :) Let's have a drink soon. (insert emoji of cocktail glass)
The second one, with the smiley and the fun cocktail glass image is already putting images of happiness and a party into your mind and helping you visualize the end result.
Which person do you want to have a drink with? You're already getting positive messages shot straight to your brain with the emojis.
Just that one small change and you've changed the entire tone of your text. Given the plethora of different emojis, growing all the time, the possibilities are endless. Just don't go nuts with them. A word here and there can help get your message cross too.
2. Keep it short and sweet
How long should your texts be? The key here is to match the other person's style, and when in doubt -- use shorter texts. Example:
You: Hey, how's your day?
Them: Busy, yours?
You: Holy crap mine has been so crazy! Went to the gym before work, have had meetings non stop, now my boss is bitching about said meetings, and I have to meet up with an old friend after work and then I'm back here early again for another meeting first thing in the morning!
That is called text overkill, don't you think? The whole point of texting is that it's short and to the point. In this culture of multiple information inputs -- don't waste people's time by going on and on. They will be grateful and bonus -- they won't avoid you.
3. Respond promptly
How quickly do you respond to a text when someone sends you one?
Common sense rules with all things and if you're about to miss a flight or someone's house is on fire, you can text back immediately. Then again if someone's house is on fire and you're texting instead of calling, you have serious issues and this article probably isn't helping your social life anyway.
Again, the rule is that in order to create a sense of rapport and likeability, you want to roughly match the person's response time.
Not only does always responding immediately to texts subtly communicate desperation and neediness (think about staring at the phone waiting for it to ring), it also doesn't give your text relationship any room or space to grow.
People like room and space in all their real life relationships and they like them via text as well. Allow for some space and distance and you'll get better, more positive responses.
4. Maintain perfect grammar and punctuation.
Here's another one that often trips people up. The shift from email to text in communication has muddled several things, none more than clean and good grammar and punctuation.
When using email, being too casual can come across as sloppy and unprofessional. Over text only some of this holds true. If you're carelessly misspelling words, yup you just look like an idiot.
But... if your punctuation is a little loose and well almost non existent? It creates a relaxed, casual vibe. Example...
Hello. How are you doing this afternoon?
hey, how's ur day
Instinctively, you might hate the second one, and if you're dealing with a work colleague or work superior you probably don't want to use the second version. That would seem like a kind of forced familiarity -- which is the opposite of likeable.
But if you're friends, the abbreviations come off as casual, fun, even playful. They assume a certain level of rapport and ease -- reinforcing friendship. Which of course, is a very likeable thing to do.
Now go make some new friends and test all this out! Cheers :)
Best Selling Author, Emmy-Nominated Producer, Screenwriter and Entrepreneur, Adam Gilad leads a community of over 80,000 men and women on their quest to create love and a bold, inspired life. Having served as a Stanford Humanities Center Graduate Research Fellow and host of National Lampoon Radio, Adam blends a bracing mix of research, humor and global wisdom traditions to help men and women break through the habits blocking their ability to open into love and freedom.