Text message: Hey Sally, BIF BOL

E-mail response: RTM

Can you interpret those messages? Would all your co-workers or clients understand? Do these messages really convey what you’re trying to say? Communication today involves hashtags, acronyms, and insta-communication! It’s a completely additional language…that continues to grow every day (at least it seems that way to me) as we all spend hours each day balancing smart phones, tablets, and laptops. When does our insta-communication actually hurt the actual effectiveness of our communication? Let’s take a look at three tips for insta-communication in business.

  1. Understanding the Meaning—Before sending that LOL or ROFL, you need to stop to consider if the receiver will understand the acronym. If the receiver doesn’t understand what you are sending or worse - confuses the acronym for a different meaning - it may take several additional messages to sort things out and eventually make your point. The result? Taking more time than was saved using the original acronym. Also, some receivers will simply walk away from messages they don’t understand which creates a communication failure.
  2. Guard Your Image—Using insta-communication does save time and may allow you to respond faster to a co-worker, manager, or client. Yet, what kind of image does it send? For co-workers it may build comradery. It may even be team building for a team to develop a few of their own acronyms. However, when sending a shortened, speedy message outside our organization, it may appear that we simply don’t have time or don’t look on a person or project as worthy of the time. It is always best to slow down and take the time to foster good communication principles even in an insta-communication world.
  3. Message Clarity—We need to remember our words only impact 7% of the message received. When we shorten the word to acronyms we run the risk of the percentage going down even further. Also, what tone is carried through the acronym and is the acronym the exact words we would say or it is just faster? For instance if I were to text, FBM, does that convey a positive or negative tone? It is completely left up to the receiver to interpret.

Insta-communication and acronyms do have their place. There are widely used acronyms such as EOD and COB, but despite our fast paced insta-communication, we should always foster good communication to build relationships and better understanding.


IDK – I Don’t Know

#ICYMI: In case you missed it

BIF: Before I forget

BOL: Best of luck

RTM: read the manual

FBM: fine by me

EOD: End of Day

COB: Close of Business

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