While smartphones may have changed the way many managers communicate, technology is no excuse for abandoning old-fashioned good manners. Set a positive example by doing the following:
Give your undivided attention
People you are with should never wonder whether they are playing second fiddle to a smartphone. Sending or checking messages around others gives the impression that you’re physically present but mentally divided. Put your phone away during meetings and when dining with others. On the rare occasion that you can’t because of a critical matter, apologize and explain the situation in advance.
Similarly, the person receiving your text or instant message deserves your full attention. If you’re not in a position to give it at that particular moment, set up an alternative time rather than make the person wait through interruptions or receive incomplete responses.
Be aware of the time
Just because smartphones create 24/7 accessibility doesn’t mean you should expect others to be at your beck and call. Respect people’s private time by limiting contact after hours. Even if you don’t expect a quick response to your 2 a.m. message, just the fact that you sent it can make the receiver feel pressured.
Consider the complexity
Complex matters often require a faceto-face meeting (or at least a substantial phone conversation) where ideas can be discussed, emotions read and remarks quickly explained or clarified. Use your smartphone to arrange a mutually convenient time to chat, not to tackle the issue itself. Similarly, note that lengthy messages or ones containing attachments are often better sent to a computer to make reading, correcting and printing easier.
Finally, remember that all, regardless of medium, reflects on you and your company. Peppering your message with emoticons or abbreviations can make you seem more like a chatty teenager than a respected manager. Likewise, an error-filled text comes across as rushed or uncaring, so always proofread before sending.