How to Communicate Effectively in Short Messaging

Sept. 20, 2023

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Tredoux Badenhorst

Dienstek (Pty) Ltd.

Cloud Performance

How to Communicate Effectively in Short Messaging

We have seen that most people prefer messaging as base communication with corporate entities and of course also in a personal capacity. But how can we assure clear and effective communication given the short nature of such interaction? One of the fears is that we will be misunderstood or that the core of our intention will not be transferred to the other party and we will not get the response we seek.

We have little control over when our reader sees and reads our message for the most part. They could be very busy and distracted, right at the moment our message reaches them. We need them to see our message clearly and be able to understand what we are trying to say quickly. The amazing ability given to us through the automatic translation abilities incorporated into the Engage product opens up to us more effective communication with all kinds of people already. However, this raises another question. How can I assure clear messages in a multicultural environment and avoid miscommunication or even offending someone?

Gloria Jacobs (2008) warns against falling into the trap of using bad spelling and grammar in Instant Messaging (IM) and we have little excuse with Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) available to us, such as Engage and Reach. Clear communication requires us to follow proper language practices, which will also translate well to the AI language facilities (pun intended).

Jennifer Wagner (2019) says that 90 percent of cell phone owners use text messaging more than any other app. The reasons are that they are ‘nearly instantaneous, visual, create an easy-to-reference record, and can be read at the recipient’s convenience’.

  • When requesting clients to opt-in to your texting program, it is import to inform them of their privacy rights and how you will protect it.
  • You should also assure them of the security in your communication. Fortunately, this is inherent in products like Case Manager and Engage.

But when it comes to the actual message writing, what should you focus on? The following highlights the importance of compiling high quality automated messages into your software - thinking carefully of your clients’ various possible interests and situations at the time of communication. Furthermore, close monitoring and participation with employees during personalized interactions, especially with new agents, is seen to be crucial.

  • Start by stating your purpose. Why are you sending the message? What value are you bringing to the reader?
  • Your language should be simple and clear. Beware of trying to show your creativity too much. Limit the adjectives and elaborations, but convey the needed information clearly.
  • Understand that you audience may not be as versed in your industry lingo. Avoid confusing acronyms and shortening of words.
  • Avoid ambiguous words and slang expressions. Also be careful with emojis as they may be interpreted incorrectly.
  • Make sure to include contact information or reach back abilities, so that it is easy for the customer to get more information or sign up to your service.
  • Include a call to action. What is it that you want the person to do and what value does it hold for them? Obviously, for this to be meaningful, you must include all relevant details while not violating the clarity and conciseness principles.
  • Be careful with capital letters and an overemphasis on superlatives. To much use of these are disingenuous and often irritating to the reader.
  • Segment your audience into interest groups and make your communication more personalised. Fortunately, Engage makes this easy.
  • Focus on your reader. Care about them, what they need and how you can contribute.
  • Included in the personalisation aspect is the scheduling of your communication. Think carefully on how often and under which circumstances you should reach out to your clients. Do not saturate and dilute their interest, but also avoid leaving them uninformed.
  • Make sure you have all the facts straight. This seems obvious, but failing in this can be devastating to your entire endeavour.
  • Think about the level of formality you should employ for your target audience. What kind of product or service do you deliver and who is the person you are communicating with? What are their expectations?
  • Use the active voice. Instead of saying, ‘you will be notified’, a better way might be ‘I will let you know’. Of course, you should consider the level of formality as stated above.
  • Cover topics together and do not mix your messages. Use paragraphs for longer messages and segment your ideas well. Bullet points could be an effective tool here.
  • Make sure to be respectful and polite. Do not talk down to your audience. You will only alienate them. Make sure to train your agents in this. Messaging as a communication medium allows us the luxury of more consideration before sending hurtful comments.
  • Re-read your message before sending and put yourself in the other person’s shoes while doing so. This will prevent a lot of mistakes.
  • Follow up on previous communications if the matter is not resolved. Be careful though not to irritate your audience. If you know them well, utilize this knowledge.

As we have seen, the preferred communication means today is messaging, but it has its pitfalls. The good news is that the best ways of communication are not that difficult and with the right software, the task is made much easier.

A short message can be easily misunderstood, but considering the rules above will help you to avoid this, while also maximising your impact on the target audience. We wish you the best in your future interactions.

Works Cited

Jacobs, Gloria E. 2008. We learn What We Do: Developing a Repertoire of Writing Practices in an Instant Messaging World. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy.

Wagner, Jennifer. 2019. Leveraging Text Messaging to Improve Communications in Safety Net Programs. Accessed from:

Nesterenko, Iuliia. 2022. How to Write a Good SMS Text Message. Accessed from:

Luberto, Jacqueline. 2023. How to Write Messages. Accessed from: