We live in a world where the written word is a part of our daily existence, even though we may never pick up a pen. Text messaging, Twitter, Facebook, and email have taken over written communication. Sometimes we can get lazy and think it’s appropriate to write an email in the same manner we speak. Like a physical first impression, our spoken word leaves a strong impression, answering questions of professionalism, character, and whether or not your communication skills are as strong as you articulated on your resume. Your written and oral communication skills have ripple effects across each area of your personal and professional life.
1) Time – Each time you send an email, you want your messaging to be clear. When your message isn’t clear due to poor or vague word choice, time is wasted going back and forth, trying to figure out what you meant to say but did not.
2) Brand – Poor grammar might cause others to see you as careless or unintelligent; you may have tarnished your personal brand. You could lose out on a valuable networking connection by sending a LinkedIn request to a business associate with just one glaring spelling. Your connection might not want to tarnish his own brand by connecting you to one of his associates, fearing the referral might reflect poorly on him.
3) Productivity – If one of your managers always has to go back and check the work of a direct report because of frequent errors, your manager is not being utilized in the most efficient manner.
4) Money – You have talked your way out of a promotion. You frequently use informal and unprofessional verbal communication. You are a top performer, but the hiring manager fears your unprofessionalism will carry over to written communication, which is a key function of a new position that would otherwise be a great fit for you.
What are your communications saying about you, and how might they be affecting your bottom line? Misplaced apostrophes, incorrect word choice, spelling errors, or poor grammar are costly in more ways than one. Grammar check can’t catch everything; here are some examples. See if you can identify what is wrong with each of the following sentences.
“We ensure the very best deal on your next used vehicle.”
“Dr. Macklin loves bringing his dog Champion on visits with him. He loves to give big, wet, sloppy kisses!”
“Steve’s mom couldn’t believe all of the waste he left behind.