In the world of business, it’s important to check for grammar and spelling errors for three reasons:
- It limits the chances that your message will be misunderstood or misinterpreted.
- It reflects your credibility, intelligence and reliability.
- It indicates that you care about how you do business.
What is your first impression when you view a company’s website and discover it is filled with typographical, spelling or grammatical errors? You are likely to dismiss that site and move on to the next, which can be disastrous for the company’s long-term survival. According to data by Tony Haile of Chartbeat, you have only 15 seconds to capture a consumer’s attention, so remember to keep your message short, simple and accurate. Hire a professional business writer if necessary. Proofreaders can be found in your area or through online resources.
According to a BBC News study, spelling mistakes can cost millions in lost sales; the analysis shows that a single spelling mistake can cut online sales in half. William Dutton, director of the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University, says that in some informal parts of the Internet, such as Facebook, there is greater tolerance towards spelling and grammar. “However, there are other aspects, such as a home page or commercial offering that are not among friends and which raise concerns over trust and credibility,” said Professor Dutton.
Even though Spellchecker is a valuable tool, it does not always catch nuances between homophones (words that sound alike, but are spelled differently and have two different meanings). It can also automatically change the spelling of a new or unusual word, like a name, to a word it more easily recognizes, without your permission.
Here are four easy tips to observe when sending important business correspondence.
- Slow down. We live in a fast-paced world where we try to do too much in a short amount of time. Never send anything without proofreading it first.
- Don’t multitask. Multitasking may cause you to make more errors because your brain must refocus every time it switches to a new activity. Although it may be difficult, try to accomplish one thing at a time.
- Get a second pair of eyes. Before sending an important document, ask a trusted friend or colleague to review it and give you feedback. This may take a little extra time, but will be worth it in the end.
- Double check facts, names and industry terminology. Spelling someone’s name correctly is extremely important because a name is part of one’s identity. Messing up a person’s name or other relevant information can be interpreted as a sign of disrespect, and at the very least, makes you appear unprofessional. It also represents the lack of attention to detail, which can negatively affect the relationship between the two parties.
We are human and therefore bound to make mistakes. But your business reputation is too important to lose out over poor spelling. Try to be as accurate as possible when corresponding with clients, customers and colleagues. Your reputation (and ultimately your bottom line) may depend on it.