Accuracy key to business writing

Accuracy key to business writing

LAZINESS is one of the more annoying features of modern business communications.

The saying “the cheque’s in the mail” has gone beyond a mere stalling tactic and taken on sarcastic overtones.

In any case it shows a blatant disregard for the waiting party.

The modern equivalent in business writing is “the check’s in the email”.

It also shows a blatant disregard, in this case, for the reader.

Writers hastily tap away emails or messages and hit “Send”, leaving the reader to pore over a litany of spelling mistakes.

The spellcheck is no longer a tool at the creative end, but in the eye of the beholder.

It is a killer in business if the eye is working overtime picking up mistakes.

This lack of attention to detail is a conundrum because written communication has never been easier.

The time taken to log on, construct an email and send is infinitely quicker than the days of typewriters, triple carbon-paper copies, and post.

So much quicker, in fact, that all writers have the time to check spelling and punctuation, if not grammar and sentence construction.

So why do so few bother?

I don’t have an answer, but that is not the point of the column.

Most email systems and smart-phone message set-ups have programs to check spelling during composition. Again, it begs the question, why don’t writers take advantage of the technology?

Or worse still, why do they ignore the prompts? Again, I don’t have an answer.

But I do know zeal without knowledge is fire without light.

Perhaps the eagerness to hit “Send” over-rules the “knowledge” built into the system.

Which is not to say spellcheck systems are perfect, far from it, but they are more-than-useful tools and easily pressed into action.

Time-poor readers in today’s business environment require communication that helps them, not hinders them. And not just for a quick response.

Succinct and error-free communication allows for greater consideration of the proposal because time isn’t wasted deciphering it.

Technology allows for quick composition and dispatch.

But just as time is of the  essence for writers eager to “Send”, the idiom also applies to the reader, and a couple of options are “Delete” and “Forward”.

They spell danger … “Delete” for obvious reasons, and “Forward” because a note might accompany it, pointing out the writer’s lack of attention to detail

The point of this column then is to provide a tip, something to help you stand out from the rest.

With emails, too often the onus is on the receiver. It should be on the sender.

Take the time to check your spelling. The resources are readily available.

The response you want is: “Check this out: correspondence without a mistake.”

The great 20th-century US “man of letters”, Elvis  Presley had a “hit” as well, with Return to Sender.

It reminds us of the other option for a recipient of your correspondence: “Reply”.

If it comes back the very next day then you’ll understand the writing on it.  A friendly tone means your letter was concise and mistake-free.

Darrell Croker is an expert in writing for business.