Never Use Text for This Message! Digital Communication Don’ts


"We no longer have a position for you. Pack up your things." Yeah, don't ever text a firing or a breakup. That’s really inconsiderate. If the message you need to convey is emotional, you need to deliver it in person or pick up the phone. The more emotionally charged a message is, the more important it is to deliver it personally. Digital communications can assert a tone that's unintended and inaccurate. Have you seen the Keye and Peele skit?

Here’s a quick checklist you can use to determine whether to use digital communication or in person messaging.

Email Digital Communication

Items and conversations you want to keep track of and refer to. Also for contacting someone who isn’t expecting to hear from you, e.g., business contact with whom you’re not close or haven’t talked to a years. And not ever for communicating anything emotional! Repeating for emphasis. That’s a phone call or in person:)

  •  Instructions
  •  Expectations
  •  Explanations
  •  Plans
  •  Introductions

Text Digital Communication

Text for specific questions or running dialogue to discuss projects and problems:) Also good for checking in with someone when they haven’t responded to email. My email seriously had 14k unread messages. It is not my goal to read them all, so sometimes I miss them. It’s like a twitter feed - I don’t expect to see them all! Sending texts to people who don’t know you have their cell number will feel invasive and come across spammy. Clearly, not a good idea.

  •  Checking in
  •  Contacts who’ve given you their cell number
  •  Contacts expecting to hear from you
  •  Following up on an unanswered email (allow a day or two)
  •  Confirming meeting time and place
  •  Communicating changes in meeting time or place, e.g., “be there in 5 mins.”

The primary goal of any message and especially those delivered through digital communication is to show respect. Successfully conveying any message requires your audience to engage in the conversation, to see or to listen. If you fail to show respect, you have ruined your chances for continuing a conversation and for achieving your objective. Be authentic, be you, be clear. Keep it respectful and you'll stay in the conversation.

Digital communication with Millennials

Digital communication with Millennials

Curious how to use digital communication more effectively with millennials? Download your free copy of my Ebook, "6 Actions to Take Now to Improve Soft Skills"