I came across not one but two articles this morning about poor grammar –just like buses they all come at once. While I profess to be far from perfect when it comes to grammar, I do agree with the sentiments of what’s being said.
The first Forbes article goes into detail about why grammar counts at work. I think it certainly does count. Shortening words might be great (not g8) for texting but has no place in professional emails. And although twitter has helped us to perfect the art of saying a lot in 140 characters, you just look silly providing a quotation or well-crafted proposal in a short burst of ‘Here u go.’
That article was actually inspired by this other blog from the Harvard Business Review which is about not hiring anyone who uses poor grammar. I really get that. I have hired quite a few staff over the last years and I cannot count how many CVs for consideration have been instantly rejected due to poor grammar, typos and wrong/no punctuation. A shockingly large common mistake is using lower case ‘i’ in sentences (speaking about yourself). Why wouldn’t you get someone’s help to proofread a document which may have a profound effect on your life? It does actually make my blood boil.
I shall end with one last pet peeve – wrong or excessive use of punctuation. In particular, it is the use of multiple exclamation marks. One exclamation mark makes a point. Two or more exclamation marks while emphasizing the point further are mostly just rather rude (yes I know ‘that’s great!!!’ is saying something nice it is still not good business etiquette).
So do please think about what you are saying and how you write it – it really can make a difference in how you are perceived. I’d like to think I’m anything but old fashioned – but in business, good grammar, spelling and punctuation still counts for me. And if there is bad grammar in this blog, I would happily be politely corrected!
So there is a public fight between LinkedIn and Twitter. A basic tit for tat – if you don’t allow our application then we won’t use yours. So there!
Well I say hallelujah – this suits me fine. One of my biggest annoyances has been all those tweets clogging up my LinkedIn status posts. The majority of tweets in LinkedIn look unprofessional and I think it was just lazy to have them there. If I want to see your tweets, I will twitter with you. In LinkedIn, I want to know professionally what you’ve been up to. Never the twain should meet.
I’ve often said on Twitter that I’d ‘de-link’ you if you continue to put all your tweets into LinkedIn and believe me I have ‘de-linked’ numerous times with no regrets.
So twitter, you started a war and LinkedIn has responded – touché I say and big thanks too as you’ve done me a favour. Now if you could only get my colleagues to complete their LinkedIn profiles it would be bliss!
These days the question isn’t, ‘Are you on Twitter?’ but ‘Why aren’t you on Twitter?’ Yet there’s still plenty of people saying they’re too busy to tweet, or they don’t have to because they’ve employed someone else to do their social media.
It’s something I am so bored of hearing. That kind of attitude means you’re not only not using social media effectively, you’re also missing the chance to share why you’re successful.
Because I say that real business leaders tweet. Check the dictionary and the definition of leader is ‘an organisation or company that is the most advanced or successful in a particular area’. That means getting out there and showing that you really know what you’re talking about.
So what’s stopping people? I think it’s a fear of being too open, or the fact they just don’t get it. Plenty of executives might believe there’s no real value to social media but it’s changed the way people perceive companies and their leaders.
If you’re only sharing your latest press release rather than personal opinions and views on industry issues, it’s a wasted opportunity to add some real value to the conversation – and that’s where plenty of potential customers, competitors and partners will be judging you.
There’s no short cuts so start growing your own brand, tweet by tweet – and don’t think you can fake authenticity. However scary it might sound, the only route to success is being open and honest. The results will speak for themselves.
I’m the first one to tell local businesses that they should have a Facebook page. But it’s not just enough to post status updates galore and wait for the ‘likes’ to come in, especially when you’re unlikely to have the same social media budget as the big boys. Instead, you’ve got to be clever.
So I loved this story about ways to get your customers working for you to raise your profile. Adding a Facebook link to everything from the company website to email signatures is always good, but what will really transform your page is engaging with your customers face to face.
Forget the well-worn routes that work for household names. Instead, take a few risks and playing to your strengths – try personally targeting customers and getting them to spread the word, something which larger businesses can only dream of.
After all, a post by someone’s friend or family has far more chance of grabbing attention than any brand message direct from the owners. And what’s in it for your customers? How about offering an incentive if they post a picture of themselves on Facebook?
Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. But it’s likely to get people talking – and for a few freebies, one memorable but cost-effective strategy could have a lot more customers queueing up to find out just why your business is all over Facebook. Who wouldn’t ‘like’ that?
2012 brings a fresh start – I need to begin as I mean to go so here is my first blog of the year. It is a plea…
Can we please LISTEN – especially to our clients! The number of times this past year I had to rescue jobs that other agencies and consultants messed up (4 in the last 4 months) was, although good for my business, unacceptable from a professional and industry perspective. And in almost every case it was because they didn’t listen to what the client wanted.
While we are selected for our knowledge and expertise, we need to respond and delight but not demand what the client gets. In the end, the customer is always right (stop screaming – I know I know there can be some difficult ones). But they do pay us to deliver to their mostly reasonable expectations.
So if a client loves the colour purple but its not part of their brand or colour palette, find some way to include it. Or if you know they aren’t the twitter type or truly won’t keep it going, then don’t recommend it. And if they say they aren’t happy with the font you’ve used to design their logo or in their website, then change it. A happy client will love what you’ve done for them and be proud to show off their new site, logo, banner, business card, ad etc. And then they’ll tell lots of people about you and that’s how business grows.
For the opposite is not worth thinking about – you’ll lose their business and other potential business. That is of course unless you want me to have it – I’ll happily take the new customers!
And if you need a good case in point about listening, then read this story about Verizon. They thought they could just add a small charge for payment services until an online campaign of 50k+ told them what they thought of the idea – oops now the charge is gone. They listened – shouldn’t have done it in the first place but good on them for bowing to the pressure for the unpopular move.
So my plea is this: take a full brief from your client and make sure you understand THEIR requirements. They chose you so now make them happy. It will be so worth it!