Thank you for taking time to read this blog. You certainly could be doing other things and you most likely appreciate reading a message that is well articulated, with proper use of grammar and correct spelling and punctuation. I spent time thinking about the points I wanted to highlight and proofread my draft before publishing it on the website. I hope you find this article thought provoking and entertaining.
If I wrote this using my smartphone, I would leave out some important points. It would have numerous spelling errors, lots of abbreviations, and would be all lower-case. You probably would not bother to read all of the text because you would get annoyed with translating SMS language to English.
Email is Legally Binding
Thanks to smartphones, email seems to have become an extension of text messaging. Many people treat email messages as though they are temporary and less important than PDF or Word document attachments. The fact is many states have determined that email exchanges can create legally binding contracts. This is certainly one reason to make sure your email message is clear when engaged in business.
Smartphones in Business
Smartphones can be great for business. The iPhone® changed the world in both good and bad ways, as I will discuss later. Features like email, test messaging, conference calling, visual voicemail, GPS, Google® maps, QR codes, built-in cameras, and thousands of apps provide great tools for business and personal use.
We have all seen the signature line that lets the receiver know that the message was sent by a smartphone. This little phrase was intended as an advertising tool for the phone manufacturer and later became an excuse for sending terse, misspelled responses. When the iPhone first showed up on the market, this little tag line was viewed to many people as boasting about being an early adopter or techno-savvy. If your signature indicates you have a Blackberry®, iPhoners will treat you like you live in a third world country.
Most people use smartphone email as a response to another message for convenience. This example is similar to text messaging because the message is likely intended for momentary clarification of an ongoing conversation. So why not use SMS text? For one, we may need to synchronize messages with some other business application or email system. Another reason is because the recipient is using an email address, not a phone number. There is no fine line between SMS and email. In business, an email is an email, not a text message!
What the Sender Thinks
- I care enough to send you this message during my important meeting.
- I am hip and techno-savvy.
- I am exceptionally responsive.
- People perceive this as effective time management.
- I’m a multitasking machine.
- You can count on the fact that I am in touch with business at all times.
What the Receiver Thinks
- You are not willing to spend the time to give me a comprehensive response.
- Is this really what you do in meetings?
- You lack business communication skills.
- The signature is an excuse for the lack of detail.
- I am not important enough to get your undivided attention.
- You didn’t give this message much thought.
- You lack professional writing skills.
- You don’t have an office.
Issues with Smartphone Emails
So now that people think you are always available, what happens when you are not available to answer an email, or need time to prepare your answer?
I work with someone who insists on using generic Subject lines and does not bother to match the conversation with the email. She comes across as unprofessional and unorganized. This creates a huge problem, since she works for a lender. She does not seem to realize that her emails carry legal implications and can bind her employer by contract.
Some smartphones do not support PDF and may corrupt attachments. Some of them do not send attachments or may have size limits. It is a good idea to open and read the attachment before sending it off to someone. Try doing this on a 3-1/2” screen.
My email system is being updated with new contacts every day. I may not want all of these contacts in my smartphone. By using a smartphone, you may eliminate important parties by from receiving the email if they do not exist in your phone database.
Synchronizing Email Systems
Many independent brokers and borrowers use Gmail, Yahoo, or some other web-based email system. Smartphones work great with these systems, however they are not private and confidential information is often compromised in these environments. Banks and other large organizations typically use a more secure, privately managed email system. Synchronizing these systems with smartphones may present some challenges. There may also be an issue with confidentiality of documents stored in The Cloud.
Multiple Email Addresses
Some of us have multiple email addresses. Our smartphones may not have access to all of the email history and may confuse the recipient in regards to which email address is correct. For example, your business email address may be email@example.com and your personal email may be firstname.lastname@example.org. Identifying yourself with multiple email addresses may give your client mixed messages about your professionalism.
Smartphones became popular when the iPhone was released in 2007. Since then the market exploded and these devices have improved productivity for many businesses. The overall perception of using smartphones for business email is mixed. When I researched the subject for this article, most website comments regarding smartphone emails were negative; there are also many jokes about the subject. Personally, I appreciate the convenience and I recognize the perception issues. I still use the disclaimer in my smartphone.
Sent from my Toshiba Laptop.