Gramandoes are among us; people who cringe at grammar and spelling errors. They focus on such errors to the point where, in extreme cases, they don’t even notice the real message the writer or speaker is trying to convey. There’s a fine line between wanting to promote the correct use of our language and just arrogance.
Proper Grammar is Important
In my Compassionate Geek IT customer service training sessions, we talk about the importance of using proper grammar and spelling in business communication. Such attention to detail gives you more credibility, it looks more professional, and it reflects well on you and your company. Although it’s certainly true that many people don’t care that much about grammar and spelling, there are enough who do to make it worth your effort to ensure you’re using the language correctly. There is, however, another consideration.
I have to confess to being a bit of a grammando, and I’m working hard on trying to lighten up. I’m into model railroading. It’s a great hobby for people who like to tinker, which is me. There are thousands of blog posts and videos all over the Internet on topics related to the hobby. I was trying to find some information recently on how to wire a model railroad layout. I found a video by a fellow who was sloppily dressed and spoke like someone who was not well-educated. He also had the exact answers I needed to solve a problem with my layout. If I had let my own arrogance about appearance and communication skills get in the way of my learning experience, I would still be struggling with the same problem with my railroad. I managed to lighten up, however, and learned two important lessons. The first was how to fix the problem with my railroad. The second, more important lesson was that just because someone looks and speaks differently from the way I want him to look and speak, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have something of tremendous value to offer other people, including me.
So, here are the two rules: Rule Number One for Non-Grammandoes: When you’re writing, pay attention to grammar and spelling (and don’t trust autocorrect). It’s not difficult to get it right and it can protect you from the judgmental eyes of grammandoes. Rule Number Two for Grammandoes: If you’re a grammando, for Pete’s sake, lighten up. Just because someone lets a spelling error or a grammar error slip by doesn’t mean they should be discounted or disregarded. If you’re a manager or a supervisor and the person making the error is your employee, work with them on improving their communication skills while remembering that he or she is a valued human being and a valuable member of your team.
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