Cant We Right Write?
Basic Writing Skills Make Us Look The Professional We Are
In every aspect of our flooring businesses, we are required to communicate via the written word. Whether that is merely notes to our co-workers, detailed estimates or formal reports and proposals, we must convey information in an understandable fashion. It’s not enough that we understand our own writing; our words must be understood by others.
One of the most frustrating experiences in business is a simple misunderstanding between parties. It’s often times the fault of a misspelling, error in punctuation or the misuse of a word. The cost to us as business people is sometimes monetary, confusion and in many cases, respect as a professional.
What makes this issue so obvious to me is being the administrator of a professional message board. Day in and day out, I see the writings and musings and professional advice my fellow pros share with each other and the consumer looking for guidance. I used to be worse, but I still make a few comments about the problem on the forums. It’s a sensitive issue. The most common excuse is, “this is a message board, not work.” That’s true to some extent, but I also see their websites and the professional documents they share and it’s alarming. Many flooring professionals lack the basic writing and composition skills of a teenager in junior-high.
My feeling is that it’s important to use proper English composition skills in all that we type or write. I admit to playing fast and loose with this “rule” myself – I enjoy the ability to write with relaxed rules to convey casual conversation peppered with colloquialisms and slang. But I use proper punctuation, structure and even spell words wrong in a way that “sounds” right. If ya know what I mean.
The biggest problem I run into, besides my own anality for the well-written word, is that most people do not like to be criticized for their lack of writing skills. Another glaring problem is that many pros I have discussed the problem with claim to have been taught – in formal classrooms – improper writing habits. Some of these include adding a space before the period at the end of a sentence; adding 2 spaces after the period; using brackets or curly brackets (sometimes even doubling them up) instead of parenthesis; using double-quotes or single-quotes improperly; and the list could go on.
Never-ending paragraphs are something that makes reading very difficult. Combine that with a failure to capitalize the first word of sentences and an extreme shortage of commas and other simple punctuation and the reading comprehension is reduced dramatically. I can’t help but feel if composition is this big a problem, then reading skills may also be a problem. With the prevalence of dyslexia, our ability to read and write as business operators is severely weakened and our customers and associates may look upon us as boobs and doofuses. Not a good way to get ahead in this industry.
What’s the solution? If I knew, I might not be a poor Webmaster. I try to keep my criticisms to myself (and my blogs), but there are a few others out there that seem to be just as embarrassed as I am over this sad situation. Maybe it’s just a matter of recognizing a problem and practicing better habits to become more proficient. Maybe proof reading what we write will help. I do know that in this day of increased competition, it takes more than just being skilled at sales, installation, inspections or managing others. Improving our level of professionalism in our communication skills can also improve our bottom line.