The Power of The Written Word
A poorly written article or informative piece can make the difference between success and failure when it comes to presenting a business to the world. Proper grammar, not simply content, works to create a well-rounded public image of a company.
The world today is one of instant gratification. A question is asked and can immediately be answered (both correctly and incorrectly) through a few keystrokes into a search engine. Opinions can be found on any topic in any part of the world. Businesses can be researched in a matter of moments to determine their professionalism and quality. And one of the main factors that can make a company stand out for better or for worse is the quality of the information delivered to their customers and potential buyers. Quality refers to more than simply the amount of content; the best set of facts and figures can quickly be dismissed when poor grammar, sloppy punctuation, or unimpressive presentations are given. These same rules apply for interoffice writing, because providing employees with clear communication shows a high level of respect held for their position within a company. Taking the time to invest in the writing being put forth for public consumption can go a long way towards making a business more successful.
The Impact of Poor Grammar
A poorly written article has the unfortunate ability to draw attention to itself for its lack of cohesion, no matter how well thought out the actual content is. Incorrect grammar can give the impression that the topic being presented is not important enough to have proper editing. It also potentially infers that there is a lack of care for the person reading the article, that their desire to read a piece that is not only informative but also well-written and thoughtful is of little to no concern to the author. The reputation of a company can be altered, for good or ill, depending on the clarity and quality of the work.
The information put forth in both hard copy and on the Internet are the public face of a business. When simple grammatical and spelling mistakes interfere with making a good impression, potential customers may simply move on to a company that takes its writing, and by extension its image, seriously. As Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit says, “Good grammar is credibility, especially on the internet. In blog posts, on Facebook statuses, in e-mails, and on company websites, your words are all you have. They are a projection of you in your physical absence.”
You Are What You Write
A well-written, thoughtful piece conveys not only knowledge on a given topic, but a level of care in how a company is presented to the world at large, which can set a business apart from the pack. Because humans are fallible, mistakes are inevitable, but those can be minimized by paying close attention to what is sent out to customers and potential clients alike. Both formal and informal pieces should be checked to make sure that sentence structure and spelling are correct, something that can be as important as ensuring facts have been checked. Autocorrect and spellcheck are not infallible. It’s essential to have another human watch for inconsistencies and mistakes. No piece is perfect, but errors can be minimized by a set of checks and balances, a “second set of eyes” that can catch problems at the outset before they’re passed on to the public. There is also no shame in looking up the information about a particular word or phrase as long as a reputable source is used to confirm the usage.
A few simple steps can help make sure that a good piece is put forth to an audience:
- Set aside extra time to go over your writing. Rushing copy greatly increases the possibility of mistakes, typing errors, and incomplete thoughts.
- Make sure that those going over the writing understand not only grammatical rules but what message is trying to be conveyed. A well-written piece is still only as good as the content that’s presented.
- Check the tone of your writing. Ensure that the work is compelling, clear, and free from unnecessary filler.
- What is published is permanent. It needs to stand up to scrutiny both immediately and in the future, because while the product or service may change, the ability for a potential buyer to understand what it is being sold to them will not.
A well-written piece conveys pride in the business that’s being presented to the public. A combination of solid and complete content with proper grammatical style can go a long way towards making a company stand out in the world of instant gratification. There is one chance to make a good first impression, and it takes just a few moments of careful consideration to ensure that the writing going out to the world at large is the best version of itself.
Interoffice Communication is Important, Too
Clear and concise writing isn’t essential only when speaking to potential customers. Employees and coworkers should receive the same level of thoughtfulness when they’re being given a memo or document that can impact their work. The tone of an email can be casual, but it should still show that they are respected members of the company, worthy of a piece of writing that is free from errors and grammatical mistakes. Doing so shows both respect for the recipient and the respect the author has for his- or herself. By taking an extra moment to confirm that even a simple note is free from error, value is added to the writing and importance is assigned to the work.
- Confidentiality aside, confirm that the correspondence being sent is something that could leave the office and would still be considered high quality.
- Ensure that what is being sent will make sense to every person on the mailing list. If there are references to specific areas in which one or people doesn’t work, either identify and define those areas or provide an opportunity for clarification.
- Make sure to include any necessary details within the written piece, regardless of whether it’s been communicated verbally. Doing so avoids any confusion about what is expected in the given situation.
A careful review of all the correspondence leaving the office can help ensure that top quality and highly effective writing is being put forward to the public. By doing so, customers both current and potential can rest assured that they’ve invested in a business that will provide them with professional goods and services with an attention to detail and an emphasis on a clear and well-presented public image.