The Art of Sending Text Messages – Communication Habits for the Young Communicator
When we talk about communication for our young communicators, we always refer to common public speaking scenarios. It could be that Oral Examination preparation, the Direct-School Admission (DSA), or leadership scenario – we want our kids to improve in these traditional scenarios. However, communication can feature in your child’s lives beyond these significant moments.
We believe that the young communicator must learn to master these skills, even in day-to-day communication settings. One such setting is the art of sending text messages! Hold on, you may wonder why that may require specific training – isn’t it a natural skill? Not exactly! Text messaging is an inevitable modern communication platform, whether on your kid’s phone, in the chat-box of their e-learning platform, or even in their games. Without guidance on the appropriate etiquette and techniques for typed messages, our young communicators may not be prepared for the day-to-day virtual conversations in their future classroom, workplace (e-mails, anyone?), or even home!
In this article, we will touch on a rare topic of how your child can master the art of sending text messages through proper etiquette, polished skills, and with purpose.
Tip #1: Understanding the ‘Viral’ Potential
We often emphasise to our young communicators about the ‘viral’ potential of their messages, especially in an online setting. The same applies to text messages as well. A wrong or hurtful text message, while said in jest or jokingly at that point, may come back to haunt your child days or even years later! It is important for our young communicators to appreciate the potential reach and effect of their messages and how they can manage them well.
Here are three considerations for your child. First, remember to be respectful in their communications to others, be it, family or friend. Being respectful does not mean having to sound “formal” or “boring” in casual conversations. Instead, it encourages your child to think of the effect of their message to the other party. Second, be clear about their message purpose. Text messages do not have the benefit of tone or body language (not currently, at least!). Being clear in their messages encourages them to avoid misunderstandings of disagreements. Third, encourage your child to adopt the Second-Look approach. Before sending out a message or reply, read through their message out loud again, in an appropriate tone, before sending. This will give them an insight into how the other party may view/read their message.
These three considerations will go some way in ensuring that our young communicators take extra care in the crafting of their messages. This may prove useful, especially as they ‘graduate’ to other platforms such as an office communicator platform or even e-mails between future colleagues!
Tip #2: Create a Platform for Sincere Sharing
When corresponding with someone new, it is important to set the stage for their communication relationship with the other party. For example, if they are exchanging texts with a new friend, it is important to adopt a neutral, cordial tone first as our young communicators become more comfortable with the other party. Again, this is only possible if our young communicators take the additional effort to craft their messages and tailor their approach for the other party.
One key aim is to create a platform for sincere sharing. Common etiquette such as introducing themselves or creating a strong first impression still applies even in a text setting. We have seen brilliant exchanges, for example, on our online e-learning platform between students introducing themselves for the first time. Beyond simply sharing their names, these young communicators can find common ground (e.g. favourite games, books) and sustain a conversation effectively.
Tip #3: Build the Relationship Bridge
Still on the topic of sustaining conversations, encourage your child to view text messaging platforms as opportunities to build long-lasting friendships or relationships with the other party. While the bulk of relationship-building is still likely to be in the face-to-face format, your child should appreciate that their messages can resolve, clarify, or even ignite an argument! They should maximise this potential and view themselves as relationship-builders, even in a text messaging platform.
We should remind our young communicators to go beyond the superficial to develop a super-relationship. There are face-to-face conversation techniques that apply well to a virtual messaging scenario. One example is the use of open-ended questions to allow the other party to elaborate and expand on their answer. Your child can use such questions even in a text messaging scenario to build a new relationship with a friend!
Make that Friend (over text)!
Text messages may still be seen as a fast, practical, and efficient platform to build and maintain relationships with people around us. This does not mean that our young communicators can run free on these platforms without proper guidance. By building the awareness of the potential of such a platform, we hope that your child will learn to adapt and master the various techniques to be a powerful communicator – even in a text!
By The Way…
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