Our blog, D Brief, shares succint expert advice, trends, tips, and ideas for marketing communications tactics—focusing on print, Web, social media, and promotional products—from a corporate visual identity perspective. We welcome your thoughts so we can learn from each other.
With “Top 10 Grammar Peeves” circulating the Internet recently, I decided to create my own list of peeves but with a slant on business communication (emails, letters, social media posts, etc.). I know written communication is more informal than it was years ago, but it’s still about presenting yourself in the best possible way—whether communicating to clients, marketing yourself on social media, or applying for a new position.
1. When applying for a job, please FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS in the employment ad. They exist for a reason.
2. Speaking of all caps, I once had a vendor who WROTE EVERY EMAIL TO ME IN ALL CAPS. I finally had to call him to ask why he was always shouting at me.
3. Avoid using an apostrophe to form a plural. It should be “the 90s” not “the 90′s.”
4. “It’s” is short for “it is” and “its” means “belonging to it”.
5. If you want me to buy from you, at least take the time to check that you’ve spelled my name and my company correctly. (Hint: it’s on my website.)
6. “Your” and “You’re” are two different words, as are “Their” and “They’re.”
7. Graphic designers: You want to design stationery packages for clients? Then remember: although packages don’t move, they are not stationary.
8. Write your email answer above mine, not below it. It’s not wrong to write it below, just confusing as most are sent the other way.
9. Speaking of email, please change your SUBJECT line when you change the topic. Many people, myself included, sort and scan their emails by reading the subject line only.
10. And the BIG ONE, which I know many people share: When someone sends an email to a group of people and asks for individual responses, do not use the “REPLY ALL” button. Only reply to the person who posed the question. If you are the originator of the email, and you DO want the responses shared with everyone, then specify that request in your email.
I’m sure there are more business communication peeves out there. Please share your comments below!