Sunday, November 25, 2012

Words Can Make or Break Your Business

It's very likely that your language has deteriorated and it could be costing you money. Traffic-induced expletives are exempt from this discussion since they're unlikely to have any impact on your business unless, of course, your clients are in the car with you. But hear this: fast and loose communications should be a solitary practice. Fractured English and other linguistic atrocities may be amusing but they're poison to your business and your reputation.

Those of us who specialize in communications are collectively horrified by what we see and hear. The media conduct daily assaults on the Queen's English and grammar seems to have become obsolete. Punctuation skills have deteriorated so badly that it has been proposed we just eliminate the process altogether. Unfortunately, many businesses have adopted this careless attitude, taking little pride in what they publish. Just be aware that sloppy communications eventually take their toll on companies, both internally and externally.

First impressions have never been more important. Both personally and professionally, quality counts.
And in today's business environment, high standards are essential. Competition for customers is intense and organizations can't afford missed opportunities. Your communications need to effectively impress your potential customers while setting your standard for organizational performance.

It's common today for managers to delegate their communications projects to an available staff member who may not have the necessary skills for producing corporate or marketing communications. This decision defaults the quality of those communications to the level of that individual's talents. Larger organizations with dedicated communications departments have a decided advantage. However, any business can lose its perspective and fail to derive the benefits of effective communications. In either case, outsourced communications consulting can offer valuable guidance and essential services to ensure businesses are maximizing their corporate and marketing communications efforts.

The importance of your primary business presentation cannot be overemphasized, but have you considered its impact on referrals? Can your associates feel comfortable recommending your business or are they embarrassed by what their clients will see? Tacky brochures, unimpressive newsletters and Web pages full of grammatical gaffes may not be their standard, making referrals an uncomfortable process. You may have the services or products they endorse but you won't be the business they recommend.

I recently encountered this situation when I visited a community member's Web site and found embarrassing grammatical errors on the home page and beyond. I knew that my client would not be impressed by this so I did not make the referral. To have done so would have discredited me and offended my client. Sometimes the best business cannot overcome the detriment of a poor presentation.

Aim to distinguish yourself from your competition and don't overlook the importance of what you say. Remember that customers will assume that the quality of your products or services is equivalent to your business presentation. When potential customers see communications mistakes, they assume your services or products will be equally error-ridden. Don't permit your credibility and sales to be lost to poor-quality communications. Invest in a professional review of your internal and external communications and choose a qualified consultant for these services.

The Parian Company offers organizations a variety of outsourced communications services on an hourly or project basis. The Company provides writing and content development, editing and proofreading and a full range of communications and editorial services. Visit The Parian Company and Alexis Parian for more information.