Texting for business

TextingTeenagers text almost as much as they talk, sending weird abbreviations back and forth on cell phones and pagers. They’ve made texting wildly popular – is it possible they’re onto something useful?

Why Text?

A text message has many advantages: it is less intrusive than a phone call, but more immediate than an email. It is quiet and discreet, so you can receive and respond to messages in situations where you couldn’t take a call, like meetings and seminars.

How can you use it in business?

  • Stay in touch with coworkers in the office and on the road
  • Set it up for priority clients so they’ve got an easy way to reach you
  • Send special alerts to your cell phone, like notification of urgent messages
  • Get quick answers to questions with minimal interruptions
  • Communicate important information to someone in a meeting who can’t answer a phone call.

Once you start using it, you’ll find it’s surprisingly efficient. Despite the cramped keyboard, it’s faster than phone or email. With so few characters, there’s no need to waste time wordsmithing the perfect message – with texting it’s speed and function over form.

Getting Started

Cellular companies charge for each sent and received message, usually 10¢ each; you can also buy blocks of messages at a steep discount. Most new phones can text, but you may have to get texting turned on, or call the company to find out where it is.

Typing can be tricky if all you’ve got is a numeric keyboard; generally if you type “1” once, you get an “A”; type it twice, you get a “B”; type it three times, you get a “C”, etc. You’ll quickly understand why teens use so many abbreviations!

Be sure to find out your phone’s email address, so that friends can shoot quick text messages directly to your phone via email.

Need a quick reminder?

Talk to JottAre you ever driving along in the car when you suddenly remember something you forgot to do before you left the office? A creative service called Jott takes care of this very problem—free of charge. Call in, tell Jott who you want to remind, and state your message. It will transcribe it to text and send an email notification. Jott yourself or your friends and co-workers, and login to your account any time if you want to check up your reminder list.

A similar service is Pinger. This service, also free, sends a text message with a link to a voice message that you record. You can send to one person or a group simultaneously. It’s a great way to share a quick personal message, especially when tone of voice matters and there’s no need for an immediate response.