It’s amazing how important the written and spoken word is to one’s image and reputation, particularly in the public relations world.
The latest assault by a PR pro on the English language was a whopper. It appeared in a press release issued by Canadian company TextTrust which, get this, sells software to locate spelling mistakes on Web sites! So, in a press release issued by the company about its flagship product offering, guess what happened? The lead sentence contained a brutal typo. Talk about not walking the walk! To his credit, TextTrust PR Manager Pat Brink assumed full responsibility.
But, the damage had been done. TextTrust became something of a water cooler joke. And, Brink’s misdeed got me thinking about his professional image and reputation. If he can’t get the spelling correct in what was probably a critically important press release, can he be trusted with other assignments? Will this faux pas follow Brink as he moves forward in his career? Will Brink be forever known as the TextTrust person you can’t trust?
I know I cringe when I read poorly worded e-mails from our staff. And it definitely impacts my thinking when review time comes around. I also take note of the spelling and grammatical mistakes, as well as the malaprops, made in some of the postings by others on the Repman blog. It’s interesting that some of the more aggressive and opinionated posters are also those with the worst command of the English language. One wonders if the two go hand-in-glove?
Clear, consistent communication is a fundamental prerequisite to success in public relations. Yet, it seems to be less and less prevalent. And, I know I’m not alone in my views. Poor writing and sloppy grammar are becoming the PR norm, not the exception.