I have a colleague who I’ve been working with for many years, but who cannot spell my name correctly. I’ve talked with her over the phone hundreds of times, and have emailed back and forth surely in the thousands. However, each and every email I receive from her contains one spelling variation or another of my name.
To see only if she would recognize the error, I’ve even purposely misspelled her name in a similar fashion on countless occasions. Despite all this, she never, ever, spells my name correctly.
Granted, this person is very nice, patient, and is always a pleasure to work with. However, the fact that she consistently spells my name incorrectly, while writing in otherwise good form, begs a couple questions: Does she consider our working relationship unimportant? Is she so busy that she doesn’t have the time to look at my email signature for the correct spelling? If I were a prospective client, would I do business with someone like this?
There are literally hundreds of books on the market that speak to the importance of simple, effective business communication techniques – clearly stating what you need, and outlining the outcome you would like to achieve as a result.
This includes spelling the recipients name and company correctly, as well as proofreading for common misspellings, punctuation, and other mistakes – your versus you’re, knowing where to place commas and periods, not ending sentences in prepositions, etc.
The thing is, this colleague’s seemingly small mistake could potentially be a big one. Communicating effectively, especially through writing, is one of the most important facets of any business. According to Merkle’s “View From the Digital Inbox 2011” (2011) study, “Email is the preferred method of commercial communication by 74% of all online adults.”
This means, when communicating with a colleague or prospective client, it will likely be done by email, and the devil is in the details. The importance of proofreading your work prior to hitting the Send button can mean the difference between landing a new client, or having them move down the road to a competitor.
What do you think? What are your experiences?