Spelling errors – ‘Nice suit, a pity about the stains’

Spelling errors? Big yawn. Who cares – as long as you get across the big message?

I just came across a message sent to a LinkedIn group from someone anxious to publicise his new CD:

“I’m proud to announce that my inspiprational and motivational “Amplify Your Success” CD is now available.”

The CD is titled: ‘Highly Effective Back to Basics Approach for Building Your Confidence & Achieving Success’.

We mustn’t get too pedantirrational about such little errors. But the subject of track No. 7 on the CD is: Make A Great Impression. (Let’s ignore for now the subject of track No. 8, which is ‘Confident Communication‘)

Smith, Vanity Fair, 1904

Smith, Vanity Fair, 1904

Smart – but don’t look too close

Imagine someone standing before a group of wide-eyed people keen to learn the Secrets of Success. He’s wearing a well-cut suit, smart tie, sparkling cufflinks. He looks smart – and successful – from a distance.

It’s a bit draughty at the back of the room, so you move up to a front seat. You get a closer look at Mr Successful Guru. A little white stain on one of his lapels. Hm, careless … happens to us all. Then you notice another little stain on one of his sleeves … and then another on his trousers. You start counting them – seven in all.

You haven’t heard a word he’s been saying for a minute or two, so you focus back on his words – in a slightly sceptical frame of mind.

Little thing, big effect

Like stains on one’s clothes, spelling and other types of errors in our writing are little things that can have a big effect.

One or two minor errors don’t matter much (we all do it). Consistently making errors is another matter.

Say someone is offering website services. The marketing message is: Fantastic. Best in the business. Unrivalled service. But the copy is riddled with mistakes, so a secondary message is being conveyed: Sloppy. No attention to detail. Unprofessional.

Yet everywhere you look you see errors – in LinkedIn discussions, forum comments, marketing material, website copy – committed by people who are trying to promote themselves.

A lot of the writing is so slipshod you can’t even work out what the person is trying to say. But that’s a matter for another day.

Yes, I know, this is not a very ‘inspiprational’ bit of writing, but we need to remind ourselves to pay attention to our words before they go public. If we do, we’re more likely to Make A Great Impression.

(Meanwhile, if you’re doing some public speaking and want to Communicate Confidently, don’t forget to check your clothes before you go on stage.)

Posted in Editing, Language, Proofreading, Typos Tagged with: , ,
One comment on “Spelling errors – ‘Nice suit, a pity about the stains’
  1. Avoca says:

    Your business cannot afford to do without the professionalism of this service, David gives 150%. I highly recommend his work.

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