Millennials Prefer Communicating Via Text, But Can That Impact Business Relationships?

By Kaytie Zimmerman, Forbes

Millennials have grown up with technology shaping how we’ve learned how to communicate. It’s constantly evolving. While this can be a benefit to society, there are generational shifts in communication styles and methods that can cause tension as a result of the change.

According to Pew Research Center, cell owners between the ages of 18 and 24 exchange an average of 109.5 messages on a normal day—that works out to more than 3,200 texts per month.

Does the average frequency of millennial texts shock you? If it does, you may have had interactions with a millennial that have left you frustrated. This can occur frequently in offices across the globe as colleagues of many generations try to understand one another.

Text Is Best

Many millennials are quick to claim text and email as their preferred methods of communication. Before you shake your head in disgust, understand that most of these millennials I spoke with were quick to add that text and email have their pitfalls and areas of worry.

Among the top reasons millennials prefer text communication for many interactions is its speed of use. According to OpenMarket, 83% of millennials open text messages within 90 seconds of receiving them. Millennials prefer text messages for their ability to communicate quickly and conveniently.

According to a study released on eWeek, 80% of people are currently using texting for business. As this has become commonplace in many offices, it’s imperative to understand the generational differences in texting.

Mary Jane Copps, herself a boomer and CEO of The Phone Lady, a company teaching skills necessary for phone communication shared, “I’m not reliable when it comes to text. I still haven’t created the habit of carrying my cellphone with me everywhere.”

On the other hand, most millennials are no further than an arm’s reach from their phone at all times, making them completely accessible to anyone wanting to reach them. Another reason millennials prefer texting is for convenience sake.

“A text is the only form of communication that doesn’t effectively intrude on somebody else’s schedule when they are busy,” said Matthew Mercuri, Digital Marketing Manager at Dupray Inc., a steam cleaner and steam iron company. “You are giving the other person the opportunity to reply when they are available.”

Millennials, Boomers and Gen X alike all seem to agree that texting has its drawbacks in that context can rarely be determined from a short message. Often communications can be misunderstood because the tone and body language of the other person is not available for interpretation.