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More Texting Tips for Better Communication

Texting isn't complicated ... and yet, it is. Here are some more tips from Get-It-Done Guy to help you do it even better.

By
Stever Robbins,
Episode #556
texting communication

In How to Improve Communication by Text and Texting, we saw how social media makes writing more contextual. You use different styles for Facebook, formal letters, and texting. And for many of us, texting is the most common. How many texts do you send a day? I probably send 519.3. At least. Anything you do that often, you want to do well. Otherwise, it’s wasted effort. Here are a few pro texting tips to help you step up your game.

Make it Clear When You're Done

I’m a big text guy. Text conversations with me go like this:

THEM
Movie tonight?

ME
Sure! Which one?

THEM
Into the Spiderverse. 7 pm

ME
YES YES YES YES!!!

THEM
Great. See you there.

ME
Looking forward to it. By the way, I heard that you and your parents got into a big fight. I hope everything’s OK.

THEM
I’m at work. Let’s talk later.

ME
OK, but I really want to be sure you’re OK. By the way, have you seen the headlines about that book? It’s really interesting. Researchers have found…

Sitting alone in my living room writing Get-it-Done Guy episodes does not, contrary to popular belief, satisfy my need for social connection. So, when someone texts, I just keep that conversation going any way I can, even if I have to resort to sending cat pictures.

When you want to make it clear to someone like me that the conversation is over, you can always use a reaction, as I recommended in my last article on texting. (You perform a reaction when you tap a message and send something like a thumbs-up or an exclamation point instead of responding with text.) But not everyone knows that means “Really, Stever, you’re a worthwhile human being, but please let me get back to work.”

To drive the message home for clueless folks like me, send a message saying “o-o.” It means “over and out.” If your overly-texting friend understands the lingo, no matter how needy they are, they’ll stop. It’s just too unambiguous. (Darn you!) If they don’t know what it means, just write “over and out” in parentheses next to the “o-o” like this:

o-o (over and out)

That way you’re teaching them, even while rejecting them and dooming them to a life of loneliness. That’s very efficient of you.

A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

Cell phone keyboards lag just behind social media as the most efficiency-destroying, life-sucking inventions to come oozing out of the sociopathic swamp that Silicon Valley has become. So, avoid your keyboard by thinking visually.

Pictures are efficient. My cat picture isn’t just a cat picture; it’s a cry for human companionship. One picture of a cute little kitten with sad eyes equals this whole episode—more than 1,000 words.

If you walk by a movie theater and spot a poster for a movie you want to see, snap a picture and send it to your friend with the text “Let’s go!” The movie poster does all the explaining, so you can enjoy a cappuccino instead of hunching over your phone for the next five minutes tapping out a message.

Photograph the Back of the Napkin

A picture is worth a thousand words, no matter where the words are written. Quickly send a message by handwriting it and then texting a picture of that to your friend. Smartphone keyboards require you to concentrate on the phone, rather than the people around you. So next time an intriguing person of the appropriate sex asks for your number, jot it on a napkin, snap a photo, and text it to them. It’s so easy you can maintain deep, engaged eye contact at the same time. Plus, you now have their number, as well. Who knows? That napkin photograph could lead to a whole new polyamorous family unit for your polycule.

Send Links by Themselves

Sometimes you’re not sharing a message directly; you’re sharing an important link. Imagine you’ve known for decades that recycling doesn’t actually have any effect on resource usage and was started as a ploy by companies like Coca-Cola soft drink manufacturers to eliminate their environmentally-friendly-but-costly bottle reusability costs.

You try to tell your friends and neighbors, who are feeling morally self-righteous about their recycling efforts, even though their efforts are entirely wasted and aren’t even building a mindset of reusability, much less the logistical or economic infrastructure for it. But they won’t listen to you because you’re their friend, and who takes friends seriously?

Instead, send them a link to a YouTube video of an environmental researcher. Also include a link to a well-researched, journalistic article documenting the origins of anti-littering programs.
Send each link alone in a completely separate message. If you put links in the middle of sentences, it can be hard for some receivers to follow or copy the link. By putting the link in its own message, your friend can copy it with a single tap on the screen, and then they can blog about it, send it to their friends, and help spread the message far and wide. Visit GetItDoneGuy.com/recycling for the links I’m talking about.

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About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT. 

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