Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Grammar – a barometer of quality?

This morning the grammar nerd in me was revitalised with a passion, thanks to @dougshaw1. I’m not planning to leave CIPD membership, but I shared his irritation about the ‘small point’ of how it feels to receive official information, surveys or requests for information containing several grammatical errors.

I am not talking about blogs, texts, quick e-mails or simple messages, where I believe it is up to the writer to decide how formal and ‘correct’ to be. After all, lots of communication is informal and maybe not everybody enjoyed Eats, Shoots and Leaves as much as me.

Nor am I criticising anyone who can’t spell, for whatever reason. I do think though that in formal communications, it is really important to make sure the grammar and spelling is correct. If you, as the author of an official communication, know that grammar is not one of your strengths, please get it checked before publishing.

Otherwise the risk is the perception by the recipient of a lazy, sloppy or rushed approach. Worse, is the risk that your audience will think you’re not bothered enough to make sure that your communication with them is correct. In my view, this is especially critical at times of change, when those receiving formal communications have a heightened awareness of the way this is undertaken.

Errors and this lack of attention lead me to suspect that if this can’t be done correctly, what else will be wrong? Can the author be trusted to get other, bigger things right? Will this lack of attention permeate into everything else they do? Does a poorly drafted HR policy, for example, indicate that the organisation will treat its staff with the same sloppiness?

In other words, is the quality of the formal communication a good barometer for the overall quality of approach?

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