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Does Writing Matter?

In Branding, Marketing Communications, Writing on June 23, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Does your ability to write well make a difference in your career? In this age of tweets and texts, does grammar matter?  Or, is writing a dying art?

As a writer by profession, I strongly believe that writing is important to your professional brand. In fact, your ability to write well can make or break your personal brand. Why? Writing is more than just putting words on paper. Writing is a thought process. (See earlier post for more on the writing process.) If you are a sloppy writer, it’s a good indication that you do not pay attention to details and that you aren’t a clear thinker. Not great for a professional brand.

Have you ever received an email that left you wondering, “What does this mean?” “What does the sender want me to do?” Generally, there are two options. You either guess at the meaning and perhaps act on the wrong assumption or you send an email asking for clarification. Your email can lead to a string of emails further clarifying the first message. Either approach leads to wasted time.

When I receive an email that is difficult to read and filled with typos and grammatical errors, I read between the lines and take away these messages: You aren’t important enough for me to take the time to write this clearly. This topic isn’t important to me. I don’t have the ability to think this through. I am careless. I don’t care. Those aren’t messages most people want to send, especially in a professional situation.

So, how does good writing fit in with social media? What about the 140-character tweet or cryptic text message? Many people do treat social media casually and fail to realize the importance to their professional brand. If you are using social media in a business situation, however, you are being judged by your words. In fact, people may only know you based on your posts, comments and profiles. Bottom line, if an idea is worth sharing, take the time to write your thoughts well.

What is your pet peeve when it comes to writing? Feel free to post a comment. Thanks!

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