Grammar. Have you thought about it lately? Whether or not your job requires extensive writing or content creation, taking the time to make sure your written communication is free of grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes is always worth it.
Don’t believe me?
When was the last time you got a text or Slack message from a colleague where you weren’t sure about the tone or meaning? How sentences are structured, coupled with punctuation, can go a long way in avoiding misunderstandings and making your message clear.
What about those emails from coworkers that stress you out because you don’t understand if they are upset about something, just asking for more information, or if they need support? In the context of your career, professionalism is key because showing your team that you care about your work and your teammates is essential to your upward mobility within your organization. Don’t be that person with whom your peers have to send 4 extra emails just to get a clear picture of what you need.
Prioritizing your grammar will help you master communication, which will, in many cases, make you an instant VIP among your colleagues. It’s not enough any more to simply rely on the built-in checkers within, for instance, MS Word or Google Docs--those tools may flag some of the more glaring mistakes in your writing, but they certainly won’t help with issues like word misuse, redundancies, and some of the more nuanced rules of grammar.
There are many free tools out there right now, but since you’re here with us, why not try out QuillBot’s new grammar checker? We’ve taught our AI models all of the rules for grammar, punctuation, and spelling, so with one pass, you will be alerted to any flaws in your writing. The grammar checker will then give you options to fix the issues, and in polishing your work, you will also learn what types of mistakes you make over and over, helping you become a better writer, faster!
If you’re still not convinced of how inattention to flawless grammar can hamper you in your career, you can read on as we break down three of the most common issues that can be avoided with a little more focused intention.
1. Avoid Misunderstandings
Lack of attention to grammar is the equivalent of a lack of attention to detail because of how much our communication is done these days via text, email, Slack messages, etc. More than ever, the virtual world works with teams based in different cities or countries, freelancers, and more who may not be able to be online together everyday due to time differences. This necessitates excellent written communication.
A misplaced modifier or punctuation mistake can lead to misunderstandings during the updating and/or hand-off of daily tasks to other teams or colleagues, especially if they are operating on a different schedule than you are. Is your bad writing making it so another team struggles to support yours because they either 1) don’t understand and then must wait for you to answer their questions before they can proceed or 2) think they know what you need but have misunderstood completely?
Is checking your work for these kinds of mistakes an extra step? Yes. But it can save you, your team, and your organization a ton of time and money in the long run. Misunderstandings can come at a huge, unnecessary cost, especially since it will take you less than 5 minutes to run your work through a free online grammar checker.
2. Increase Professionalism
Indeed describes professionalism in this way:
“Professionalism includes standards for behavior and the employee's ability to embody the company's values and do what their employer expects of them.”
It is, therefore, important that as both an employee and a purveyor of your company’s brand that you craft your tone with attention to grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Too many of these types of errors can make you seem lazy, unprofessional, or even careless, which is rarely the message you want to be putting out there for yourself or your brand. On the other hand, if you have upheld a constant, high standard of flawless writing and written communication, you are sure to get noticed.
So, the question now becomes: Who do you want to be seen as?
A) The colleague who might be fun to talk to but isn’t careful enough with their grammar, spelling, or punctuation to handle that very important account
B) The colleague who is everyone’s first choice for nurturing new leads because of their written professionalism, style, and attention to detail
Of the “15 professional characteristics for the workplace” listed by Indeed, all but a few can be directly linked to communicating well.
3. Clarify Your Message
Of the “15 professional characteristics for the workplace” listed by Indeed, all but a few can be directly linked to communicating effectively. Behaving ethically, as well as being organized, respectful, accountable, reliable, poised, focused, and controlled are all on that list. How can you hope to achieve these characteristics, and maintain them, if you lack real focus on the different elements of your writing?
For example, when you are behind on a deadline or a project isn’t working out, you need to be clear about how your team can help you get back on track or pivot. Any kind of ambiguity due to lack of commas or word misuse is only going to put you and your team farther behind the curve. Ambiguity is a recipe for stress and doing more work than is needed, in terms of communication, just to get your message across. Avoid this with a simple grammar check.
If your business is growing and you have big plans for the future, then it also pays to avoid grammatical errors so that you can explain your vision plainly. What do you want to see happen for your team or your organization? Great grammar ensures your message is clear to your audience or customers, as well as your colleagues. Clarifying your message in this context is a great example of how clear, error-free communication can unite a team, giving way to the synergy that creates large-scale, rapid growth.
Maybe you’ve thought about skilling up to become more competitive for a promotion. Or, maybe you’re thinking of a career or company change. Wherever you are in your career, grammatical mistakes can sabotage your upward mobility, workflow, time budgets, professional image, and the synergy of your team or organization. Don’t lose out on important opportunities because you never understood a mundane concept, like what a comma splice is. Find a free online tool you enjoy working with, and integrate this step into your routine. You and your promotions can thank us later!