How to make an impression: Spelling, Grammar and Beyond

If you want to make a great first impression, start by improving your written communication skills

How to make an impression: Spelling, Grammar and Beyond

Importance of your words

More often than not, your impression (especially your first impression) will depend on your written communication skills. In a 2012 Harvard Business Review blog, Kyle Wiens highlights in the digital age, we communicate more and more in written form; hence words are all you have [1]. Errors in spelling and grammar highlight a lack of attention to detail and convey insufficient care to the reader. Furthermore, researchers found that written material with spelling and/or grammatical errors were less credible to readers when compared to error-free articles [2].

So what?

For individuals, a negative impression from your writing can have real consequences to your personal brand. At a recent graduate employer event in Sydney, Australia, around 80 graduate recruitment professionals were asked whether they would reject an applicant if they had spelling and grammar mistakes in their application (thanks to GradConnection for putting the question forward). More than 60% of recruiters said they would immediately reject an applicant on this basis, especially when attention to detail is expected in their profession.

A lack of credibility and care in your writing hampers your ability to form positive relationships, especially in business contexts. For companies, it can potentially have grave consequences for the success of the business. Studies found spelling and grammar mistakes negatively influenced audience's perception of overall quality and attractiveness of the written material, in addition to negatively impacting perceived care level and image of the company [3]. Additionally, it was found that advertisement containing multiple language errors was less persuasive to the reader when compared to error free advertisement [4]. The participants were less inclined to use a service being advertised by a business when the ad contained language errors, while it also creates perception of an inferior business with lower quality employees.

And beyond

Ensuring that your writing is error free is only the first step. Being also able to express yourself in a clear and concise manner is the gold standard in communication. Not only does it eliminate any ambiguity in the message you are trying to deliver, it keeps the reader focused and engaged. It was found simplicity and ease of comprehension were key to effectiveness of advertisements by a company while lengthy sentences and passive voice detracted from the effectiveness [5].To find out how vocabulary could have a $10,000 impact on your life click here.

Outwrite: The essential writing tool

Powered by Artificial Intelligence, Outwrite detects and corrects your spelling and grammar mistakes as well as giving you rephrasing suggestions to improve the quality, clarity and eloquence of your writing. It is the essential writing tool if your impression and reputation matters.

  1. Wiens, K. (2012). I Won't Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here's Why. ↩︎

  2. Appleman, A., & Bolls, P. (2011). Article recall, credibility lower with grammar errors. Newspaper Research Journal, 32, 50–62 ↩︎

  3. Jansen, F., & de Roo, E., J. (2012). Fouten tellen. De invloed van de dichtheid van dt-fouten op de lezerswaardering. Neerlandistiek.Nl, 12, 1–30. ↩︎

  4. Mozafari, A., El-Alayli, A., Kunemund, A. et al. (2017). Impressions of businesses with language errors in print advertising: Do spelling and grammar influence the inclination to use a business? ↩︎

  5. Lowrey, T. M. (1998). The effects of syntactic complexity on advertising persuasiveness. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 7, 187–206. ↩︎