The clarion call for a return to the basics in literacy and numeracy has been heard in the public arena at regular intervals for decades. Priorities in learning change and evolve over time. The greatest tragedy, in my opinion, is the cycle that has allowed good writing skills to be devalued. While there will be many who would argue that technology as we experience it to-day requires speed and unlimited access at all costs. This may be true but it should certainly not be at the expense of well constructed and grammatically correct business writing.
The world of texting and the world of business communication (including e-mails) are very separate domains and the relaxed standards which apply in text writing are appropriate for that context. There are a number of basic standards which should apply in business writing and unfortunately quality communication appears to be seen as less important by many businesses.
What’s important to you about the reputation of your business? Have you thought about what impression you leave with your clients and customers from your written material? There are many potential clients who will be discouraged from doing business with you if your brochures, e-mails and letters lack professionalism. I was never going to do business with a company that offered me a ‘curtsey’ car. (Yes, that was meant to be courtesy).
What can you do about it?
Take charge of your business communication. Keep competent written communication as an important indicator of your business professionalism.
Take an audit of your current written material (both internal and external to your organisation). Are there areas for improvement?
Don’t depend on spell-check – it doesn’t pick up the difference between ‘form’ and ‘from’ nor will it pick up the difference between ‘manger’ and ‘manager’. Many of your clients will know the difference and perhaps see it as inattention to detail.
If you are in doubt, consult someone (perhaps your English teacher from school – or that nerdy kid who always liked doing essays).
Frances Cahill is a confessed wordophile. Her academic background is in Linguistics and she has been writing for over 30 years. She has launched her own business as a wordsmith and her dreams are being realised in the world of writing. With humour and warmth, she will let you in on the secrets of grammar and good writing and what it is like to be a proud grammar nerd.