True story: I once lost a well-paying client because an employee spelled his name wrong in a press release. The client interpreted the mistake as incompetence and fired our agency. He was right.
“Poor communication skills often leave bad impressions of you and your organization. One brochure with one little typo, widely distributed to various channels, can cost money and clients,” wrote teacher and author Ashan Hampton in Why Good Writing Matters. “Would you excuse away faulty writing with any number of justifications, such as, ‘Perhaps someone else wrote this message? Not everybody is a good writer, but they’re still good at what they do.’ As a result of this mode of thinking, many professions receive passes on bad writing, spelling and grammar. Who cares if they can write as long as (they are) successful?”
In iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens’ I won’t hire people who use poor grammar he wrote, “Applicants who don’t think writing is important are likely to think lots of other (important) things also aren’t important.”
Ashan Hampton made similar points:
1. Writing errors breed distrust. Hampton cites an article, “Bad Grammar is Bad for Business,” noting 59% of 1,029 people polled by Global Lingo said bad grammar and spelling errors would make them reconsider patronizing a website.
2. Writing errors suggest inattention to detail. “As a seasoned professional or budding entrepreneur, you will be judged on the quality of your writing in the business sector,” said Hampton. “This is especially true for job seekers. Many hiring managers toss resumes with even the slightest misstep in punctuation. Spelling or typographic errors are definite deal breakers.”
3. Writing errors intimate education levels. Hampton wrote, “Like it or not, written communication intimates your level of intelligence and thoughtfulness…Deficient writers are perceived as less than smart, whether or not this characterization is true or fair.”
I, too, tend to base my perception of a person’s competence by their written work. So seek out the countless online sources on good writing, including Ashan Hampton’s new YouTube site featuring writing tutorial videos geared toward K-12 and college students. Don’t let poor writing cost you. Your thoughts?