(Feel free to share the above images)
This poster really shows the most common grammatical mistakes. It is important to strive to make all of your communications grammatically correct. However, in today’s digital age, I consider these rules along with a leadership approach that includes putting grace first and seeking the person’s intended meaning.
As leaders and mentors, we must continually balance the risk vs. opportunity of being our own media hubs in an environment that involves extraordinary digital challenges. These changes have quickly ascended upon us and people are adapting as quickly as possible.
For the most part, a majority of mistakes are just due to typos-which is not a reflection of knowledge–because we are all typing over a million characters a year now. It’s bound to happen with the volume of content many of us are producing. I’ve seen typos generated by the largest online and print publications, and many of the top leaders of the day. Typos are not a reflection of a person’s intelligence. They never have been, and never will be. Grammar is important, but reaching for the intended meaning is a higher level leadership skill.
For example, I’ve studied and know MLA, CMS, and APA at a Masters level, as well as a couple other official journalistic writing styles, but it has not protected me against things like autocorrect (finally turned it off on my phone), mistakes on the printer’s end even after submitting draft changes, human error for which we are all subject (typos), and technical elements out of my control.
I might giggle internally when I see people breaking these rules, but beyond being mildly entertained, I don’t hold it against that person’s intelligence when I see it. Everyone I know is a very intelligent, enlightened human being. I appreciate everyone I know, so I would never hold a typo against them. That would be cruel and would only be a reflection on me, not them. I feel way better about giving them the benefit of the doubt and delighting in their intended meaning.
You may be surprise to know that there is not only one set of rules about English Grammar:
When I was much younger, I had someone who would relentlessly pick on me about this. Then, I found out that they were wrong! Some of the “tips” they were giving me didn’t line up with any one of the official writing style guides. For some things, they were mixing the rules. Their motives come more from their controlling nature than from their knowledge of the business of writing. So, if you have a grammar and spelling snob in your life, check out these main style guides to see where you stand:
The last one is a fun read, and if you like some stories along with your rules, that’s a great one. I’ve used it for years.
Most leaders are familiar with the above materials. However, many people, when they start increasing their content production make mistakes here and there. But, if that was a reason to stop in their tracks, no one would go on to achieve greatness. I’ve seen spelling mistakes from every successful person out there. They didn’t let typos stop them.
Sadly, I’ve encountered many clients who have very cautiously and bravely ventured out into the online social realm for the first time, and then they’ve been discouraged by a relative or colleague or “friend” who has scolded them with judgment, as if they are stupid for making a simple typo.
Commending the person for the great accomplishment of bumping their communications and marketing to a new level should be the priority. Lashing out with judgment is such an old mindset. Providing constructive criticism should be balanced with helpful tips, not just focused on the negative. People learn better through non-judgment methods.
I have always taken a positive reinforcement type of approach to teaching, but not all teachers do. There are some real control freaks out there. Just remember, they do not control your opportunity, YOU do!
The reality is that typos have zero, absolutely nothing, to do with laziness or stupidity. It has to do with accomplishing more in a day than most people. If I accomplish 37 things and one typo, and someone else accomplishes 2 things and no typos, I’ll take my day…well, any day.
Striving to be accurate and correct
The key is to strive to have correct content, which is what I do. For those who can afford it, you should most definitely get someone to proof and edit everything you do. As a sole proprietory, I have to wear all hats. Also, I produce such a volume of content in a day that there is no one who could keep up with me to edit everything. Every day, I’m involved with writing books, creating marketing tools, and generating videos and audios, not to mention social media engagement. I’ve chosen the abundant opportunity over my unfortunate capacity for human error, whcih again, we are all vulnerable to. I would never let it stop me though.
So, if you’ve been a victim of spelling snobs, the best response is success. Their fear of possibly being incorrect just once, will slow them down, while you are getting better and better at producing accurate and correct content. Practice makes perfect.
See any typos? If so, please feel free to contact me. I welcome the opportunity to connect with you.