Text-Speak in the Workplace

WRITTEN March 27, 2018 Author: Rich Atkins

All choices in communication are of terrific importance. Modern-day shorthand (text-speak) is very useful, and entirely appropriate.

(Did that just say what I think it said?)

Yes, TXT shorthand is the right answer–when it’s used with the right audience. You can draw an analogy here to using profanity. Vulgar language, when used with the correct audience, is suitable, as long as it’s acceptable with that audience. It’s not okay in a professional work environment, however.

When it comes to substandard communication (TXT or vulgarity), the danger is in letting it slip into our professional communication accidentally.

Language use and care in communication shows your respect for the audience
. Conventions of speech or writing, when disregarded, show a lack of care and/or respect. Clients will not view primitive communication styles favorably, no matter how efficient they may be.

When it comes to using TXT shorthand, the argument of “we’re all short of time” doesn’t hold up.
 Remember that saying “let’s get through something quickly” (because you don’t have time), is the same as admitting that you don’t care about it.

Is telling another person to, “go jump in a lake” the same as saying, “no thank you?”
The message is “no” in both cases, but in one, the style is questionable. Knowing the audience and responding appropriately is the very spirit of effective communications. The best approach for an unknown audience is a formal tone.

If you think substance is more important than style, think again.
You wouldn’t show up for an interview in sweats, a t-shirt, and a baseball cap. Style is every bit as important as substance, and people usually judge style first.


This information is from the Effective Business Writing class. If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, register for one of our public classes.


(Photo: striatic/Flickr)


Other Resources:

Wiki Glossary of Text Speak

When it is and Isn’t Ok to text your boss.

Is Texting Killing the English Language?

Text-speak: Language Evolution or just Laziness?

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