Your Words = Your Reputation

It’s 2010 already and I am just starting up a blog. Okay, my social media learning
curve is on the low end, but here I am nonetheless. So where do I start…?

First welcome to my blog. I ask that you bear with me during my short-lived (keep your fingers crossed) initiation to the process. Since I am working without any feedback at this point, I thought I might begin with a discussion of one of my pet peeves: relying on word processing programs to spellcheck your business letters, memos, emails and dare I say it—promotional materials. The word processing programs’ dictionary will tell you if a recognizable word is spelled correctly. However, it often will not tell you if the word is being used correctly or if you have the appropriate spelling for that usage, which explains why you often see “wear” when the user meant to write “where”, and “there” being used instead of “they’re”.

Years ago, when I worked at a corporate job, I was amazed at how managers and directors indiscriminately sent external emails and letters without checking the grammar or the spelling. I suppose the reasoning was that a) no one would notice, b) it didn’t matter as long as they got their point across, or c) they just didn’t care what anyone thought about their ability to fill their highly-paid positions.

Whatever their reasoning it did not make a good impression. When asked about the substandard attention to detail and the English language, the most common response and my personal favorite reply was “I checked it with spell check. You may as well have asked little Johnny who just learned to read to proofread it, because that is the amount of discernability a spell check has.

I suppose most people rely on spell check because it is convenient. Just one click and zip everything is fixed (not). However, do yourself, your business and your reputation as an intelligent, thinking being a favor and use a dictionary. You don’t even have to own a conventional dictionary. You only need to visit one of many reference sites to find out if you’re spelling the word correctly and using it in the proper context. A few that come to mind are: http://www.merriam-webster.com; http://dictionary.reference.com; www.thefreedictionary.com; and http://dictionary.cambridge.org.

Your correspondence, yes, even your emails, say a lot about you. Make sure it’s something positive.

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