Funerals that offer “creamation” services and companies that say their products or services are “Quiality” – what is your first thought? It they don’t show this much attention to detail on services they are trying to sell us via the internet, I guess we shouldn’t expect too much in terms of their service overall. You might have thought from the title that this would be a blog about “Business to Business” Communications and in a roundabout way it is. But that’s the problem with abbreviations – not everyone has the same understanding of their meaning and a breakdown in communication is the result. What I really want to address today is more about a “Back to Basics” approach to communications. Concepts like “yes, grammar matters” and the lost art of conversation. If we are open to learning how to do these things well, it’s possible our “business to business” communications will improve too.
Spelling matters. Grammar matters. Most of us can’t parse a sentence and don’t know a dangling participle when we see one but we sure as heck know (or should know) the difference between “its” and “it’s.” If you don’t (and this is not shameless self promotion by any means) you had better hire someone who does! Your business might depend on it. Utilizing technology, we tweeted a query not too long ago asking for your input – does it matter to you if spelling isn’t accurate on a website. Would it deter you from buying a product or service if the website contained language inaccuracies? The response suggested overwhelmingly that consumers would indeed bypass a poorly written website, choosing instead someone who took the time to get it right. The perception is clearly that attention to such detail really does matter.
These results are not surprising to me, nor should they be for anyone. You wouldn’t expect your doctor to “sort of” be able to practice medicine and I’m sure you rely on your mechanic to really “get it right” when he is working on your engine. It only makes sense that the same level of care and attention to detail would go into the website that advertises these services yet it always surprises me how often this fails to be the case. Time after time we come across websites like the one offering “Quailty” repairs. The thing is, as much as I advocate a return to the basics, technology can actually help us with these kinds of errors because all anyone has to do is hit “spell check” on their computer! Sure it might not catch the difference between the correct use of “here” vs. “hear” but that’s where the B2B education kicks in.
Communication is so many things. It’s about listening, speaking and writing and it is about the “ability to express or exchange information.” (1) How we interact with one another in every aspect of our lives is governed by effective communications. To do it well takes plenty of practice. It is a skill we should continually improve upon throughout our lives. Entire courses on networking are taught to business professional and really, isn’t this just an opportunity to teach people how to have a conversation? We need such courses because so many of us have now become completely reliant upon technology and all the abbreviations associated with it that we have forgotten how to talk to one another. Indeed, we have forgotten how to look up and into the eyes of people who are sitting right next to us! We are rational (sometimes!) reasoning creatures gifted with the ability to orate and yet it is a vanishing art form.
Therefore, I dare to say this. It’s time we got back to the basics. Put down our tech devices and learn the ability to speak and interact with one another. Bring grammar back into our schools and teach kids that while efficiencies gained from “ttyl” abbreviations work in some situations, they do not work for all. We need to learn how to spell and how to put a sentence together the “good, old-fashioned way.” Technology is a wonderful thing but it is only as smart as the user and what we put into it. “Garbage in, garbage out” as the saying goes so let’s recycle those old school dictionaries and put them to good use. From the perspective of your business, here’s why it is so important. Research shows that 59% of consumers would not use a company that had spelling or grammar errors on their website and that fully 70% of people notice these mistakes and feel it shows “an obvious lack of care.” (2) Further, if the average person only spends between 10 and 30 seconds on your website, being memorable because of your errors is not the right way to get noticed!
In educating ourselves about effective and efficient means of communication without the use of technology we might then be better able to apply that knowledge when we do use it. Building a great, error free website that helps tell the world what you can do is vital. Technology IS important but so is how we use it. Communication skills: good for life – and good for business too!
As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed? Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.
Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.
Writing Right For You
Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!
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