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Getting the message

Ach, wäre doch jedes Meeting so kurz wie eine SMS! 160 Zeichen, dann muss alles gesagt sein. Eigentlich ideal für die Business-Welt, in der am besten alles schnell schnell geht. Länger dauert's nur, wenn Sie mal wieder Ihre Kollegen fragen müssen, was diese seltsamen Abkürzungen bedeuten ...
Ach, wäre doch jedes Meeting so kurz wie eine SMS! 160 Zeichen, dann muss alles gesagt sein. Eigentlich ideal für die Business-Welt, in der am besten alles schnell schnell geht. Länger dauert's nur, wenn Sie mal wieder Ihre Kollegen fragen müssen, was diese seltsamen Abkürzungen bedeuten ...

IMHO TXTMSGS R GR8. If that makes no sense to you, then you are clearly not a serious member of the SMS generation. The message, literally, is simple: "In my humble opinion, text messages are great."

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SMS (short messaging service) has revolutionized electronic communication. So much so that if Sting were now writing the classic Police song "Message in a Bottle", the refrain would no doubt begin: "I'll send an SMS to the world". It is estimated that nearly 200 billion (that’s 200,000,000,000) SMSes - or text messages - are currently sent a year in western Europe alone. By 2006, the figure will rise to over 350 billion.

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The advantages of text messages are clear: they are fast, often cheaper than phone calls, and flexible. They can be sent from mobile phones (US: cell phones), land lines or the Internet. Their main restriction to date has been the limit of 160 text characters. But already the technology is starting to allow customers to send pictures and graphics, too. SMS is primarily seen as a youth medium, with young people preferring "to text" rather than talk. Note the new verb "to text": I text, you text, he texts etc.

However, SMS also has its place in the world of work. It can be particularly useful for communicating across time differences and when away on business trips.

In Britain, it is estimated that around one tenth of the 50 to 60 million text messages sent each day is business-related. Indeed, anecdotal evidence suggests that "texting" plays a more important role in Britain than in the US.

So far, so good. However, not everyone is getting the message. Because messages must be short, there are many abbreviations and acronyms (abbreviations that can be pronounced as a word, such as HAND for "have a nice day"), not to mention emoticons like :-) to indicate a smiling face. In one survey, around a third of businesspeople said they didn`'t understand all their text messages.

So when using SMS for business purposes, remember the following:

Clarity: The most important point is that your message is understood, not that you show how clever you are at using SMS-lingo. If you are unsure whether your business partner understands short forms, write your message out in full. Note also that there are variations in the spelling of these short forms.

Formality: Don't think that just because you are sending an SMS you can be super-informal to clients or superiors.

Politeness: Addressing your business partner by name makes the message more personal.

Accuracy: Check your message before sending it. Modern mobile phones have "predic- tive text" technology that guesses the words you are trying to write. Check that this is really what you wanted to say.

Spelling: It is typical to write everything either in capital letters or all in lower case in text messages. But still try to spell correctly.

Final check: To whom are you sending this message? Checking again could spare you a lot of embarrassment.
Dieser Artikel ist erschienen am 23.06.2002