Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Does correctness matter in your business communications?

After years of explaining to business students the importance of using correct grammar, spelling and style in all forms of business communication - yes, even in that informal email message to a colleague - I am beginning to wonder if I was completely misguided.


Clearly many businesses, not to mention media outlets (who should know better), don't really care about correctness.

What do a few mistakes matter, anyway? People are still going to read that email message or advertisement or headline, process its weaknesses, and move on. In some cases, I wonder if readers even notice.

Here's what I mean. Yesterday I received this marketing mail from a local business, inviting me to a special discount day:

My Invited?

The mind boggles. How did such an error get past any number of readers involved in the marketing process and make it into the mail? How many of these messages were sent out?

And does anyone care that this should read "You're Invited!"?

I care. As a customer of this business - and I might add it's a solid business, with great products and excellent customer service - I can't help thinking "If you can make such an obvious, public mistake, what other errors are you capable of?"

An error in communication reflects badly on the communicator, and shame on us if we let businesses, or even our own colleagues, get away with it.

Businesses leaders need to recognize that communicating effectively is a necessary skill in the workplace, and one that requires training and oversight. That internal email written completely in lower case and containing a few typos or Textspeak isn't going to be seen by a client or customer (you hope), but it's still incorrect. Why should your business communications be any different from the processes involved in providing your product or service? You have supervisors, checkpoints, quality control in other areas of your business, so why not in your communications?

Do it right. Ensure that your employees learn to write well. Hire a professional writer or editor to train your employees or provide oversight to your communications, especially if your message is being mailed to customers like me.

Your welcome. Oops! I mean, you're welcome.

Here are a few more bloopers that reflect badly on their writers and editors:

An email message from a national organization
for writers. Self-emploted writers, apparently.

Is it possible to remember in? Just wondering...

I don't even know where to begin with this one!