Importance of Grammar in Business Communications

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A businessman uses his tablet computer.
A businessman uses his tablet computer. (Image: LDProd/iStock/Getty Images)

Effectively worded business communications are purposeful, professional and easily understood. They allow the recipient to take in the message without guessing at the writer’s intent, transposing misplaced words or deciphering poorly constructed sentences. Error-riddled messages are a turn-off for both internal and external readers. Poor grammar is often associated with ignorance of or disregard for established rules, as well as laziness or rushing. Businesses should strive to create thoughtful, polished messages that represent their commitment to accuracy and thoroughness.

Sending Correct Messages

Effective word choice means the difference between clear understanding of messages and confusion. Sentences that make readers have to reread for clarity may mark the end of active reading, which is counterproductive to the goal of business writing. Business writing is not about wowing the reader with large words and complex sentence constructions. It is about getting a point across, using the most efficient means. Providing concise, actionable steps when giving instruction eases frustration and increases reader compliance. Leaving messages open to interpretation often means trouble, as readers may create their own rules or ignore confusing directives altogether.

Establishing Credibility

First impressions mean a lot. Imagine receiving an advertisement for “Peace of Mind Tutoring Service” which reads “Piece of Mind Tutoring Service." Allowing inadequately proofread documents to escape final inspections gives off a negative impression. It ruins opportunities for businesses to display their attentiveness and reliability, making it easier for perceptive competitors to capitalize on these mistakes.While usage errors such as typing “desert buffet” instead of “dessert buffet” may elude a spell checker, trained human eyes should catch these grammatical offenses.

Internal Communication

Employees desire transparency and openness from their employers. They want the right information the first time. Sending out mass emails containing transposition errors in training dates or distributing handbooks containing jargon creates chaos. It also wastes time, because correcting mistakes takes away from other business functions. Even when mistakes are easily correctable, their impact is still real. Bad grammar within internal business communications may decrease employee morale and motivation to remain detail-oriented while completing job duties.

External Communication

The quality of external business communications helps customers form impressions about businesses. Customers prefer to conduct business with well-run, professional organizations. Visually appealing advertisements or properly formatted letters lose their spark when customers discover grammatical errors. While most customers will not flood a business with phone calls regarding poor grammar in correspondence, they will remember the offenses. Some may even make it their mission to alert other customers to avoid the offenders.

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