Are we losing the desire to write well?
British polling company ICM Research recently conducted a survey on behalf of MSN. They found that around two-thirds of the two thousand 18–24 year olds surveyed cared not at all about punctuation, spelling and grammar when composing e-mail.
SummaryWe're all judged on the way we write, so it's important to write well.
This overly casual attitude to e-mail seems to be quite widespread — and not just among 18–24 year olds. Much of the e-mail I receive (from both friends and business colleagues) is poorly written. Now this may be defensible in personal correspondence, but sloppy writing has no place in business.
Remember, you're judged on the way you write.
In a face-to-face meeting, you'll be judged on your looks, height, clothing, perceived wealth, accent, social class and a whole host of other features. While we tell our children not to judge a book by its cover, the reality is that we do exactly that every day of our lives.
When reading a piece of correspondence from someone you haven't met face-to-face, though, none of these factors are present. You have only one thing with which to form an impression of them — their writing.
So, in this twenty-first century world of increasingly faceless communication, your writing is more important than ever. I'll say it again: you're judged on the way you write, so write well.