There’s been a huge increase in the use of smart phones (mobile phones that offer advanced technology not available on standard phones) or semi-smart phones (not quite so advanced but still capable of sending and receiving emails, communicating on social networks and a few basic applications.) Email was problematic enough–now we have a whole new set of challenges!
Here are a few reminders, although not an all-inclusive list. If you have some additional ideas, let me know.
1. If you will be at your computer within a few hours but want to contact the sender immmediately, send a preset response message (develop several to fit a variety of situations.) “I received your message on my phone. Will reply fully later.” You can go to the front of that preset message and insert the name. “Bill, I received your message….”
Or, you can add a personalized sentence or two. “I want to give this a full response, Jan, so I’ll be sure to email you today.” “Thanks for the contact, Bill. I’ll email within the hour.”
2. If you must respond more fully right away, have a preset message to explain your status. “I’m using my mobile phone for this response, please forgive any formatting errors.” That may help to explain misspellings, missed punctuation or anything else caused by the method of communicating. You may want to add that you’ll follow up when you’re at your computer.
3. If you are sending an email message you know will go to someone’s mobile device, keep it brief to limit the amount of scrolling and screen advancing the other person has to do. Using an executive summary paragraph (all the significant details, kept very brief) is very helpful. Consider letting the receiver know there is more. “John wants everyone to meet. Contact me when we can discuss in detail.”
4. If you have a very, very smart phone, remember that others may not. Some mobile devices are much more user-friendly than others. Don’t judge too harshly if you and someone else are communicating for business and it appears you’re being answered in a curt way or that there are noticeable spacing and formatting problems.
When you are sending messages from your mobile device, remember that some one word or one sentence messages are no more appropriate in writing than they would be in person.
5. Follow up with regular email or phone messages in which you can use more courtesy phrases and sound less curt. You can accomplish a lot in short messages, but you can’t build relationships, credibility and trust that way alone.
Quick messages by text or email are needed on many occasions, but they can’t take the place of full conversations. On the other hand, they may help you develop good habits about your messages. If you know someone is having to purposely go to six screens to read your excessively long email messages, you might edit it a bit better.
6. Use standard spelling if you are writing for business. Ur instead of your or you’re is never acceptable for a business message. Proof quickly to make sure you used capital letters and punctuation correctly.
7. Send a test email and a test text message to someone who has a phone that is less or more sophisticated than yours, so you can see the differences. Consider what adjustments might be helpful on any mobile device.
Any other ideas?