May 06, 2019
The Words Matter
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Imagine you're listening to a commercial for a dentist office and the last words you hear are "Our doctors can do this all under sedation." Ouch. Somehow, I don't think that's the message this particular office wanted to convey, and yet that was exactly what I heard on a radio ad.
Too often, I see and hear marketing messages that miss the mark. I have read policy and procedure manuals with the same challenge. The way the words have been structured send the wrong message. They are either in the wrong order, or they simply use the wrong word.
How many times does the word "should" appear in your employee handbook? Do you realize that gives your employees the option to NOT follow the rules? How about the word "may"? Will it or won't it happen? Sometimes, yes, you want the amiguity and flexibility that "may" offers, but are you using it correctly?
Do you know the differencee between "serving your customer" and "servicing your customer"? Did you know there was a difference? There is; a big one and it can be detrimental to your credibility if misused.
In fact, every time there is confusion, misunderstanding, or misinterpretation of your message, your credibility takes a hit. The same goes for poor editing of those same manuals, memos, blog posts, website content, or any written materail you disseminate to or for your organization. Misspelled words, incorrect usage of simple words (ie their, they're, there) bad punctuation, long, run-on sentences can all damage your credibility and tarnish your image.
Taking the time to have your content reviewed by an outside expert may be the single best step you can take to ensuring your message is crystal clear. Don't let a simple grammar error be the reason you lose that next big client.
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