Pachter's Pointers:
Business Etiquette Tips & Career Suggestions


Don’t Text An Apology: Texting Etiquette Guidelines For Business

I admit it. I am not a huge football fan. But many of my seminar participants enjoy the game and I will use football stories to illustrate learning points. Consider the following recent headlines about Vince Young, the Tennessee Titans quarterback, who texted an apology to his coach. They illustrate that texting is not always the appropriate way to communicate.

• Titans coach not impressed with Young apologizing via text

• Young texted apology, says Fisher, who'd prefer face-to-face

• Former Titans QB offers great apology… in the worst format possible

Texting can be an unobtrusive way to contact someone, and a fast and informal way to exchange information. Yet, if you are texting colleagues, bosses or employees, you want to be professional. Follow these suggestions so your texting is suitable for business:

1. Don’t text an apology. As Vince Young learned, many people prefer a personal discussion. Apologize in person, when you can. If that is not possible, the telephone is the next best alternative.

2. Give negative feedback in person. Same reasoning as above. But you can send good news via text. This way the person receives the information immediately.

3. Be cautious if changing meeting times or venues in a text. The attendees may not have checked their phones in time.

4. Don’t quit your job in a text. Speak to your boss. You don’t want to burn your bridges. You may need a reference in the future.

5. Chose your words carefully. Be aware of your tone. You may sound harsher than you intended.

6. Be careful with abbreviations. Using short cuts has become more common in the business world, but make sure it’s appropriate for u to be that informal! Plus, the receiver of the text needs to know their meanings. A colleague received “np” after thanking someone for his help. It took him a few moments to figure out that “np” meant “no problem.”

7. Don’t email from your phone and use text shortcuts. One woman emailed her thank-you note after a job interview from her phone, and inadvertently used abbreviations. She didn’t get the job as a result.

8. Don’t text under the table during a presentation. It’s noticeable and distracting to the speaker.

9. Don’t drink and text. You can easily say something you will regret later.


  1. #7 - Why is it inappropriate to email from your cellphone, assuming no text shortcuts or abbreviations are used? Are you saying business email should never be sent from your phone or that thank you notes should not be emailed?

  2. Beth, thank you for your comment. You can definitely send emails from your phone. I was emphasizing that there are higher writing standards for an email, than a text.
    Best, Barbara

  3. Thank you, Barbara. I asked because I came across someone commenting that where he worked he was told he should never email from his cellphone - the cell phone provider being noted when sent. Best I can figure is that it was simply a company policy. Have you come across any companies having an issue with sending work related emails from cell phones?

  4. I haven't come across any similar company policy. The issue may be that if you send an email from your phone, people may assume you are not in the office. And this company may want their customers/clients to believe their employees are in the office.