When to Email vs. When to Text

I’ve noticed a troubling trend in professional communication: people are blowin’ up my phone and slidin’ into my DMs with professional pitches. 

Why is this happening? Am I just getting old and sounding curmudgeonly? Or is anyone else as annoyed as I am by professional conversations seeping into social media and text messages? 

Don’t get me wrong: I absolutely love talking with my listeners and followers on social media, but when it comes to professional pitches – like sending over proposals, inquiring about rates or availability, or suggesting a collaboration – that kind of business is best reserved for email. 

Unless you’re completely unable to find the email address for your intended target, or your emails go continuously unanswered, there’s really no reason why professional conversations should take be happening elsewhere online. 

Simply put: it’s not a good look. I get that text messaging and social media are fun places to engage in casual conversation, but it looks amateurish to conduct your business through such mediums. 

Here’s what I try to keep in mind when determining whether to email or text:

When to Email

  • When you want to propose a collaboration opportunity, send an email and include hyperlinks or attachments where your recipient can find more information.
  • When you want to schedule anything – a meeting, an event, an appointment – do it via email. 
  •  When you want to introduce yourself professionally. Want to come across as a a pro and not just a pal? Opt for email.

When to Text

  • When your message is extremely time-sensitive. Need someone’s birthday to finish booking their plane ticket? Want to let your 3pm meeting know you’re almost there but stuck in traffic? Ordering a coffee and want to know if they want one, too? Go ahead and text away! 
  • When your message is geographically-specific. Want to meet at the corner of the street outside your favorite coffee shop? Want to ensure your meeting knows which coffee shop to find you in? Send them a drop pin via text using a maps app.  

Why Keep Professional Communication in Email?

At the end of the day, it’s not about communicating in the way that’s most comfortable or easy for you. It’s about what’s most convenient for the person on the receiving end. 

Emails are way easier to sort, search, and refer back to than texting or direct messaging. And while I’m all about detoxing your inbox and staying out of email overload, it’s still the best professional communication method out there. 

What’s your take?

Am I way off base? Weigh in via the comments below.

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