What Did You Say?

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 that it’s appropriate to write an email in the same manner in which we speak. Like a physical first impression, our spoken word leaves a strong impression, providing clues of professionalism, character and whether or not you can communicate effectively.

Your written and oral communication skills have ripple effects across every area of your personal and professional life.

Four Things to Remember When Communicating in Any Form:

  1. Clarity Is Key: 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. Your Personal Brand Is (Always) on the Line: Poor grammar might cause others to see you as careless or even worse, 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 error. 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. Don’t Be a Productivity Killer: If one of your managers has to always go back and check the work of his supervisee because of frequent errors, your manager is not being utilized in the most efficient manner.
  4. Don’t Leave Money on the Table: You may have talked your way out of a promotion if you frequently use informal and unprofessional verbal communication. Or maybe you’re 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. Relying on tools like grammar check can set you up for failure too. See if you can identify the error in each of the following sentences:

“We insure 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 waist he left behind.

For a grammar check-up take a few moments to review some basics with grammar quizzes.

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