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#666: Poor Grammar Can Kill Your Reputation

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, October 03, 2011
Updated: Monday, October 03, 2011
I have a client who rails about consultants with poor grammar. How big a deal is this?

I can't say how prevalent this is with consultants but I suspect these kind of errors in grammar can be a deal breaker when you are trying to impress a client with your command of language and precision and care taken in communication. What does it say about you when you utter sentences such as "He is the one that (who) conducted the focus group," or "There (They're) probably ready for the presentation," or "I think it would be well (good) to approach a new supplier"? Confusing its and it's is unusually common.

Part of the decline of grammar and spelling has been attributed to the increase in IM/texting, where informality is part of the culture and started when each letter transmitted was a challenge. Another reason is the lack of reading, particularly among younger people. Television competes with reading and the proportion of adults who read a work of creative literature in the past year has declined to less than half. One in four adults have not read any books in the past year.

Tip: You don't know what you don't know. To be sure you are not inadvertently committing grammatical errors, get a list of common grammatical mistakes in speaking or writing. Examples include five common mistakes or ten common mistakes in business writing.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  communication  reputation  writing 

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