Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Please Proofread!

It has been suggested that the quality of written English has been in decline in inverse proportion to the increase in texting, tweeting, and posting to Facebook. I am not aware of any hard scientific data to support this conclusion, but I have noticed a trend.

I’ve also heard it argued that this is no big deal. So what if there are misspelled ungrammatical tweets floating around the cyber universe? It does no harm. Sorry, but I have to disagree, because I have seen the trend migrating over into business communication.

If you write for business, even a lowly 140 character tweet, you should resist the pressure to be dragged down by the grammatically challenged. I can offer three great reasons as to why this is so.

First, good grammar is essential for good, accurate communication. I learned the lesson for myself the hard way. You see I am a terrible speller, but I do make an effort. I use spell check religiously. Several years ago, I received an email from my manager's boss asking me to do something. I banged out a quick reply, promising that I would definitely do it. But spell check had other ideas, and instead I replied that I would defiantly do it. Within a few minutes I got a call from my manager to find out why I was defying his boss! Lesson learned.

Second, communications containing poor grammar and multiple typos just looks sloppy and careless. Do you want your customers to think of you as sloppy and careless?

Third, poor spelling and grammar may make you appear to be uneducated, or even stupid. Again, uneducated or stupid, not words that you want your customers or clients to associate with you.

Convinced? Now, what do you do about it? Here are a few suggestions to keep you on the right track. First, turn on automatic spell check on all of your applications, especially on your email. Second, don’t just bang out an email or post and click send. Once you have composed your message, take a minute to read it over. You are much more likely to catch errors if you read out loud. If you are in a busy office where reading out loud would annoy your cubicle mates, just read softly to yourself, it works just as well. If your text is important, or is likely to be read by many readers, take an extra step and have a trusted colleague read your material first.

One other suggestion for email, don’t fill in the “To” address until just before you are ready to send your message. This avoids the embarrassment resulting from accidentally clicking “Send” before you are ready.

Finally, if smooth flowing grammatically correct prose is just not your thing, consider getting a pro to ghost write for you. We can help. Canadians, visit us at www.salesbrewers.ca, or Americans visit www.salesberwers.com.

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