Over the years I have spent a lot of time chatting with people: from gChat, IM, and Campfire, to texting and twitter — my conversation history is extensive. And with all of this interaction the one thing I have yet to become desensitized to is people’s poor use of grammar. For some reason the moment the majority of people sign on gChat they become completely inept at punctuation, capitalization, and basic grammar.
Someone will have to explain to me why, when communication is so important in today’s
business life climate, people don’t utilize every opportunity to refine and improve their writing. I look at this practice no differently than any other activity.
Want to be great at coding? Practice writing good code.
Want to be good at giving public speeches? Practice talking in front of people.
Want to throw a tight spiral with a football? Throw a football 10,000 times.
What is it about a small screen or chat window that makes people communicate worse? I’m not saying every IM people send should be written like a thesis or revised ten times. But I am saying it should make sense, be concise, and grammatically correct — especially in regard to syntax. To this day I try to write everything as cleanly as possible. If I spell something wrong I force myself to rewrite it, if I miss a comma I picture how confusing it is for the other person and I work to avoid that mistake next time. It is possible to do these things while still having a conversational tone.
I believe this practice will make anyone better at writing: everyday emails will be on-point, meeting notes more insightful, and handwritten thank-yous crisp and meaningful.
For the sake of communication, I hope everyone steps up their grammar game.