With all of the current issues we have creating this new normal, I thought it time to re-address some of the little things that were part of schooling in my day.
As a business professional and a Glammapreneur I appreciate the finer points of communication, things like grammar and vocabulary. I'm often surprised by the lack of attention to the small details that denote professionalism.
One of my grandchildren once said “I want chocolate sauce because that makes ice cream more better.” This grammar may make me cringe, but coming from a three-year-old it’s reasonable. There’s a popular movement in language used for posts, blogs, and website copy that is embracing colloquial phrasing as a method of engagement. There’s an important line between modern language and bad grammar, and falling on the wrong side of that line makes you look unprofessional.
Here are some quick and easy tips to make sure your copy gives your clients the right impression. Validate your quality content with good grammar because subliminal impressions are important, and can have a detrimental effect when you appear to be less than professional.
Be easy to read
Your readers are riding buses, distracted by incoming emails and generally giving you less attention than you probably deserve. Rather than risk losing their attention because you require too many brain cycles, respect the age of divided attention. If you have content that requires brain power and attention, give your reader easier text to engage with so that they can decide if they’re going to focus on you.
Use the free Flesch Reading Ease formula test to grade your content.
It’s either more edgy, or it’s edgier. One or the other, not more edgier.
If you use the word ‘more’ avoid ‘er’ on the next word.
Even newscasters are using this false emphasis. If you’re thinking people are hearing it everywhere, so that makes it okay, you’re forgetting the power of subliminal responses. Even if you’re a music promoter connecting with the cutting edge trends, avoid using the grammar of a three-year-old that will undermine the authority of your information.
Spellcheck. Yes, really.
Take the time to check. If you’re choosing between UK, US or Canadian spelling, be consistent. Every browser has an extension that provides spell-check right in your browser window.
Grammarly is a phenomenal little app for checking your content. Add it to Windows, then you can drag in the file from whatever program you are using that you’d like to check. (In fact you can check out this Grammarly review to learn more...)
Re-check. I suggest a 24-hour check back before publishing.
The text that seemed perfectly clear to you may turn into gobbledygook when you go back later. This saves you from having readers who are not inside your head with your context wondering what you are talking about.
Adding polish is a decision, and it comes with some effort. It’s so much easier to whip off a post and put it up, then grimace and edit it later when you notice a problem. The thing is, usually other people have noticed too. Decide now what sort of impression you’d like to make, and if professionalism matters to you.
Decide if you’re going to use online lingo, like thx and lol. Or emojis in your content.
Being consistent is as important as the choice you make. What do you want your readers thinking when they read your material?
NOTE: This post was originally written in 2015 and updated Sep 2020