So it's holiday season and more often than not, this can result in a bit of a stop start sort of summer when it comes to business whilst people are quite rightly enjoying themselves taking time off and trips away.
Personally, I just got back from a holiday in sunny Sardinia. Knowing full well we were staying in some pretty remote spots and wanting to embrace the true meaning of a 'holiday', I did not envisage doing any work whatsoever and made the conscious decision not to take my laptop.
As it happens, despite all my best efforts to switch off entirely, running my own business inevitably means I could not resist responding to the odd message and following up with a couple of things that arose whilst I was away. Besides, doing so from a sun lounger whilst staring out at the emerald sea horizon and sipping prosecco at the same time hardly seemed like hard work! Given where I was, the easiest method of communication over these matters seemed to be via WhatsApp. Which, I realised, worked perfectly well. Such an effective means of communication when not wanting to spend any more time than necessary working whilst on holiday!
This said, it's not just from the shores of Sardinia that I have noticed my increasing use of mobile messaging for business. Texting within business as an alternative to emails is nothing new but I have noticed for a while now that it is more and more often the preferred method of communication. Obviously this makes total sense when communicating with candidates exploring a new job as they often can't talk during the working day and may not have access to personal email accounts otherwise until after hours. Nonetheless, I have also noticed the response rate is equivalently high when messaging clients on their mobiles versus waiting for a reply on email.
I can only assume this is down to the brevity that one can get away with on a message versus having a proper conversation or responding to an in-depth email. Text or WhatsApp messages are both concise and efficient and need not make an apology for their compression.
Clients are often so time poor and a quick reply to a text message between meetings when they may not have time that day to call or even read all their emails, let alone respond to them, is a great solution. Since messaging professional connections on their mobiles became acceptable, response times are definitely on the up.
So, what's up with 'WhatsApping' for business?
Well, I can't pretend the increasing trend doesn't sadden me a little. Obviously there is nothing in business like a real conversation or face time with a professional acquaintance. Nonetheless, where this is not possible, I will admit that I take pride in the composition of a well scripted email. This said, I can also be somewhat 'flowery' in my emails (blogs too; this one is already dragging on despite my intent to keep it punchy!). My nerdy pleasure from the use of a broad vocabulary and grammatical accuracy can sometimes get the better of me! This passion for the English language does not sit comfortably with texting or WhatsApp messages where, instead, the emoji is king and the latest Gen Y acronym his squire!
Nonetheless, the world of digital communication is constantly evolving and this affects business as much as anything. I accept we must move with the times. So, fire away, WhatsApp me! Text me! Leave your online comments below! (Don't attempt to find me on Snapchat mind as I haven't gone there yet...). However, please know that you will always get the best from me as a professional by having a proper conversation. The transactions of business can always be done online or using digital communication. But the business of getting to know one another in real life will always be the more rewarding.