Have you ever wished for a simple skill that would make you more engaging?
What about closer with the important people in your life?
A skill that would allow you to be more intimate with women?
What about one that helps you become socially and professionally successful?
Have you ever thought about improving your texting skills to build better relationships and achieve professional results?
What if I told you there is a simple skill that you could master that would put you well on your way to achieving all that? And it’s one you’re using every day…incorrectly.
Texting is the 21st-century tool for success that you thought was just a trend.
Well, guess what, it’s here to stay, and if you’re not on the bandwagon, then you’re falling right out of the cart while some other guy with quick wit and a fast thumb is hoarding your social success, your promotions, and your women.
Are you ok with that?
Didn’t think so…
Yes, texting really is that powerful – if you do it well. But it is SO much more than just words on the screen. Like everything else in life, you only get out of it what you put in it
So, if you’re ready to pull up your socks and start putting IN, let’s see what you can get out.
Here are my top 5 important facts about texting that are guaranteed to convince you to brush off your keypad, brush up your texting knowledge, and get on the bandwagon before it heads out of town.
1. Texting Isn’t Going Anywhere
“Communication” was the buzzword of the early 2000’s. It appeared on work presentations, Men’s Health articles and just about everything you received in the good ol’ snail mail.
Communication was hailed as the wonder-skill that made you better in the office, better on the streets, and better in bed.
Well guess what – that hasn’t changed. But the way we communicate has.
Communication is still the tool you need to get ahead; forge close relationships, build respect, get on top and stay there.
But in recent years, there’s been a shift in the medium.
No longer is verbal communication the be all and end all of personal success. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still super important, but so much of our communication now occurs in a digital space via text messaging, instant messaging, and various other forms of text-only communication, that to discount it all as a “fad” would be seriously detrimental to your success.
According to research done by the Pew Research Centre in 2014, 90% of American adults own cell phones.
“But”, you say, “just owning a cell doesn’t mean that the communication landscape is changed by them – after all, being in touch 24/7 is a necessity now, right?”
Yes, and no.
The way we use these devices is definitely indicative of, if not a full-blown obsession, then definitely an enthusiastic embrace of the all-encompassing features of cell phones.
- 67% of cell owners find themselves checking their devices for messages or alerts even when they don’t notice it vibrating.
- 44% of cell owners have slept with their phones next to their beds because they were afraid of missing calls, messages, or updates.
- 29% of cell owners describe their phone as, “something they can’t imagine living without.”
When you take these stats universal, things point even more towards a trend away from cells as traditional phones, and towards primarily text-based devices.
Deloittes predictions for 2016 indicate that 26% of cell phone users in developed countries won’t make a single phone call this week because of increasingly lower rates for data packages.
China’s text-based messaging app WeChat has over 650 million users – that’s twice the population of the US – and that’s not even accounting for other popular text-based apps throughout the rest of Asia, such as Line, WhatsApp, or the humble Facebook Messenger.
Yep, text-based messaging is taking over as our number one form of communication, and it sure isn’t going anywhere, so if you want to be up to date, you need to update your texting skills.
Ever heard the saying “the medium is the message”?
It was coined by a film critic named Marshall Mcluhan, and its meaning is this:
“The form of medium used to send a message embeds itself within the message, creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived.”
To break that down, its 2016 buddy, if you’re still making calls on your dodgy Nokia 33500, the message you’re sending is clear: you’re outdated, out of touch, and just like that Nokia, you’re basically obsolete.
2. Unlike Your Friends, Your Texts Will Never Lie To You
According to research undertaken at the University of Nebraska, people are much less likely to lie over text than if they are meeting with someone face to face.
Takeaway message: if you want an honest conversation, talk with your cell.
Participants in the study recorded that they were 80% more likely to be honest about their feelings over text or email, and 60% of them confessed that they “rarely lie” over text message.
Less lies and a whole lot more deep honesty? Sounds like texting isn’t so bad after all.
Dealing with the nuanced landscape that is everyday verbal communication can be really frustrating. Too often people hedge around ideas and opinions because they are afraid to speak their minds and be judged by the people around them.
Taking away the face-to-face aspect gives people the ability to open up and express themselves in ways that they normally wouldn’t if they had to look you in the eye when saying uncomfortable things.
Not only that but the distance that text messaging brings mean that you, the receiver, have time to digest the information that you’re receiving and engaging properly with the person you’re talking to instead of fumbling around like a deer in the headlights.
So, if you’ve always wished for people to express themselves in the solid, straightforward manner that you pride yourself in practicing, then texting is the way to go.
3. 99% Of Text Messages Reach Their Target
If you want to deliver a message that is guaranteed to reach its target, you can’t beat text messaging.
This story about my friend is a pretty universal illustration of exactly why text messaging is such an effective marketing technique.
She is a stay at home mom who checks her emails about two or three times a week. She skims through, clicks on the important looking ones, and trashes the rest. Voila her entire interaction with her email inbox. That’s it.
If her husband emails her a sweet “Just thinking about how beautiful you looked in your new dress last night” on Monday, she might not even see it until Wednesday -that’s not a very impressive redemption rate, is it?
On the other hand, her cell phone is her third hand. If he sends her a text, she is all over that – just like the 90% of other people who open their texts within three minutes. And let’s be honest, if its’ taken three minutes, she was probably driving (or figuring out a way to surprise her husband later that evening…)
On a much more professional note: if you want to be 99% sure that your marketing message is delivered, read, and acted upon, then no other method beats the humble text.
According to data from the texting based marketing gurus, Tatango, text message marketing is leaving its’ competition behind in the dust – and you will be too when you embrace the power of marketing your product directly into your audience’s pocket.
Marketing and promotions delivered via text message are opened 99% of the time. That’s four times more often than email marketing which has an opening rate of 22.54%.
But you’re a savvy guy, you know there’s more to it than that – 36% more in fact.
That’s right, people aren’t just opening these text messages, they are actually taking the next step and bringing text message marketing’s click rate up to 36% – a helluva lot higher than email marketing’s measly 2.95% click through rate.
Why is this?
Text messages are just so darn accessible.
4. Instant Messaging Increases Intimacy
In a busy world where everything is moving so much faster than it was 10 years ago, texting assists you in remaining connected and intimate with the most important people in your life.
You might have been turned off to the idea of texting after reading one too many “Cell Phones Are Eroding All Human Connection” articles. But it doesn’t take a genius to take a look at these claims and realize that all the cell-phone nay-sayers are missing a few gigantic points.
Frequent cell phone use increases your levels of intimacy with your personal connections.
There. I said it.
No, it will not keep you connected with 500 of your closest Facebook buddy’s or the 200 randoms in your address book, but let’s be honest, if you were connected with all these guys BEFORE the advent of texting, you were either the most social person ever, or you had way too much time on your hands…
You may be surprised to hear this, but the average human only has five close and intimate friends. These are often family members and partners, the people you are extremely close to, and rely on for a lot of your social and intimate needs.
Going up from there, the average person has a group of 15 friends who they can rely on for sympathy and support; 50 friends, who we would label as “close friends”; and then 150 of our nearest and dearest who can be relied on to rock a party, or a large wedding (free booze does that I guess).
This sequence of numbers is called The Dunbar Number, and is named after Robin Dunbar from the University of Oxford who studied the relationship between the size of the frontal cortex of the brain and the size of respective species’ social groups.
When a lot of our relationships are based heavily around technology, we can see that this frontal cortex theory continues to hold true.
According to one of my all-time favorite Ted Talks by Stefana Broadbent, titled: How The Internet Enables Intimacy, the average Facebook user has around 120 friends, but only frequently interacts with about 4 or 5 of them.
Things get more interesting when we move onto cell phone use, where Broadbent finds that 80% of our calls and texts are to only four people. FOUR.
So apparently, far from eroding the social fabric that supports human beings, modern technology is actually mimicking it to a tee.
More than just these numbers though, Broadbent argues that technology is creating a kind of “democratization of intimacy”, wherein large groups of people who previously found themselves isolated from intimacy due to restrictive working environments, migration, and the high cost of a long distance phone calls are now breaking this imposed isolation in the simplest of ways:
- Calling their mom from work.
- Instant messaging during coffee breaks.
- Texting under the desk.
Basically, cell phones help you keep in contact with your private sphere, even when you are isolated by your public sphere.
I know that for me personally, this definitely rings true:
When a colleague first started working crazy hours as a European Sales Rep, he found it really hard to be away from his family for long periods of time, especially as the distance was very physical as well – often they were in different countries for weeks on ends.
The only thing that made it bearable was his wife getting nifty with her iPhone and sending him random texts, videos and photos of their children and herself. He felt like he was still part of their everyday life.
I bet the majority of my friends could count the number of times they’ve called their mom this year on one hand (busy lives and heavy schedules) yet if you look at their inbox, their mom isn’t missing out on anything thanks to frequent text updates about work, their partner, and their children.
Texting is such a convenient way to stay connected to the most important people in your life, whether they are someone who you share a bed with at night or someone who you haven’t lived under the same roof with since you were 17.
The intimacy that the convenience and ease that texting can bring is beyond…well, a text.
5. Texting Is The Most Easily Misconstrued Form Of Communication
No, I’m not trying to put you off texting.
On the contrary, I’m trying to impress upon you how incredibly ESSENTIAL it is that you master the art of texting before you make a mistake and REALLY stuff something up.
Chances are, even if you’re not texting’s biggest fan, you still do it, and fairly frequently too.
But if you’re not paying attention to how you’re doing it…well…you’re probably doing it wrong.
There is a positive and negative way to impress upon you exactly WHY you need to pull your finger out and start getting better at texting – let’s start with the positive side:
You send X amount of texts every day – why wouldn’t you want them to make an impact?
If you’re serious about being successful, whether at work, in relationships, or in any form, you make an effort in every single conversation, right?
Texts are just like conversations – except that the receiver can re-visit your conversation multiple times (and they do). No one is going to be reviewing you’re mediocre, unimpressive text. But send a good one? You might get the chance to make a great impression that just keeps on impressing.
Now… the negative:
As we’ve said before, 90% of texts are read within three minutes of receiving them. If your message is engaging, it will elicit a response. If not, the cell will go back in their pocket, and they’ll respond later…or not at all.
“So what” you might think. But wait and hold your horses!
This “so what” is the equivalent of standing in front of someone and saying something extremely uninteresting. The person looks at you, registers what you’ve said, and concludes that it was way too boring for them to even bother responding.
You’d never settle for that kind of mediocrity in face-to-face communication, would you?
So why are you doing it over text?
In another fantastic TedTalk, Txting Is Killing Language. JK!!!, esteemed linguist John McWhorter highlights a false assumption that so many people seem to hold about texting: that it is writing.
The assumption – that texting is a form of writing, and that therefore due to the loose nature in which we text, the universal level of writing is constantly being lowered – is seriously misleading.
Texting isn’t writing. Writing is a particular form of communication that is used for the purpose of conveying information in a digestible and interesting manner. It has its own forms, and its own purpose, and is entirely different to conversation.
Texting, as McWhorter says, it is “fingered speech”, and, far from heralding the demise of language, is actually an expansion of our linguistic repertoire, and one that should be studied and respected.
Once you realize just how true this is, you’ll suddenly also realize exactly what you’ve been doing wrong all this time: you’ve been ignoring the conversational aspect of texting.
According to Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Phycology at UCLA, only 7% of what we say is delivered with the words with which we say it. 38% of the meaning is delivered through paralinguistics (the way we say it), and a whopping 55% is delivered through body language.
You see the problem, right?
Texting is the words alone. The 7%.
Now, over the course of the last decade or so, we texters have developed our own textual paralinguistics, such as “haha”, “lol”, “JK”, and a plethora of different smileys to convey the tone of the text, but we haven’t quite come up with a way to replace body language. What’s more, we know that a lot of people still haven’t quite got their heads around our already existing paralinguistic replacements.
This is why it is SO important to put some time and effort into learning how to text properly.
The things you’re saying don’t come bubble wrapped in your disarming smile, or knowing wink – they are often read exactly as you write them.
When you send a message that is meant to be sweet, it can come off as creepy without the right wording, timing, or even just the right recipient. Try on something sassy and you might end up looking like an A hole, because you lacked the body language that would have pulled off that message in person.
It’s so important to look at text messaging as more than just writing – it is conversation. And, just like conversation, it is an art that can be practiced and perfected with time and effort.
Back when you were starting your first job, you probably read up on the “power stance”, or “10 different ways to show your boss your enthusiasm without words”.
I bet there is not one single guy reading this article who has never googled “how to communicate better with women”.
And if you’ve never sat and thought about how important it is to stay close and connected with your friends and family, well – I’ll eat my cell phone.
Communication changes all the time – that’s just how it is – and if you want to stay relevant, you have to keep up with it, there are no two ways about it.
Pull up your socks, pull out your cell phone, and get ready to explore Digital Age Communication 101: you won’t regret it.
This is a guest post by Claudia Cox, founder of Text Weapon. Sign up for your FREE 30 day Texting Club trial. You'll receive access to 300 messages, and tips on how to use texting to improve your relationships.
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