If there is one person in the public eye who you'd have down as a language pedant, it would be His Wordship Stephen Fry. Classically educated and erudite, surely he would be first in line to smite apostrophe-abusers everywhere. Well, it turns out that's not the case, and everyone in business should listen to what he has to say.
In a recent podcast, Fry berates the punctuation-whingers and grammar-grumps for nit-picking their way into our attitudes to language. Instead of being intimidated by the fear of getting something wrong, he says, we should be embracing the richness of the english language. And there's no writing in more need of enrichment than business writing.
The unforgiveable wrong committed in most business communication is that all the life is squeezed out of this vast and colourful language we share. More importantly for business, it's commercially disastrous too.
If you use pity or boredom to underpin your sales pitch, doing the writing equivalent of standing quietly in the corner of the room or muttering business-like phrases to anyone passing, good luck to you. People are attracted to the interesting, the interested, those with personality and something different to say.
So build your business with language that entrances, excites and entertains, and remember:
- be clear to be understood
- be interesting to be remembered.