Last week I bought a book on persuasion. I’m always looking for new strategies to persuade people, so I hoped to gain something useful from it.
I couldn’t make it to the second chapter.
It started off small. One grammar mistake. Then another. And another. With each page, the number increased. It got so bad every other sentence made no sense.
Thank God the book was free.
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A Platform for Everyone
We live in a world where anyone can publish anything at anytime. This is fantastic for those with a message to share.
Your content alone won’t win people over. It’s got to be easy to read, understand, and remember.
Grammar errors drive people away faster than a tornado ripping through a peaceful community.
Here are eight reasons bad grammar kills your message.
Bad Grammar Builds a Wall Between the Reader and the Content
The persuasion book author promised me a transformed life. As I pushed through a thickening forest of broken sentences, I decided my old life was good enough.
Even with less material, a well-written book is more useful.Your content alone won’t win people over. It’s got to be easy to read, understand, and remember. Click To Tweet
Bad Grammar Makes the Writer Look Stupid
A book that is high on hype and low on style is a scam.
I have no problem with marketers trying to sell their knowledge. I’m doing the same thing. If you want to sell more, write like you’d talk over coffee. There’s nothing worse than good information that is hard to read.
Bad Grammar Screams the Value of a Good Editor
It’s not enough to let your word processor catch your mistakes. All it will catch are common misspellings and a few sentence structure issues. It won’t catch how well your sentences flow together.
Read your work aloud, word by word. Read it backwards. Let someone else read it. Any of these things will reveal what a cursory glance misses.
You’ll Limit the Number of Readers You’ll Get
Your friends are lenient, patient people. They love you and think everything you write is awesome.
Strangers aren’t so kind. If your work is hard to read, they’ll click away. If it’s really awful, they’ll tell their friends – in person, on the phone, and on social media.You don’t need an English degree to succeed as a writer. Just write simply so others can understand. Click To Tweet
When People Talk About You, It Won’t Be Complimentary
When you have a bad experience at a restaurant, what do you do?
You tell everyone you know, don’t you?
It doesn’t matter if this was just a bad night. One bad experience can so color someone’s perception that all the convincing in the world will never change his mind.
First impressions are powerful – and often indelible.
You’ll Ruin Your Future Prospects
You don’t need an English degree to succeed as a writer. Just write simply so others can understand.
Complicated speech and writing is a turnoff.
- A sleep-inducing speech will remind you of the Economics teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
- A tedious textbook will give you a headache and make you wish you had a magazine.
- A terrible TV show will move you to run that errand now, not later.
If it isn’t required, would you do any of these? Your bored readers won’t either.
You’ll Be an Example of What Not to Do
In Toastmasters, I used illustrations in my speeches. I told stories of people I admired. I shared experiences I’d rather forget. These emphasized the point I was making:
- You should do this
- You want to avoid that
- See what happens when you …
Don’t be someone’s bad example.
People Will Laugh at You, Not With You
I was ridiculed as a kid. I didn’t do anything to deserve it but be a pushover.
Publishing is a risk. You might score big. You might fall flat.
When people laugh at you, it hurts.
Depressed yet? Here’s how you can write stuff people will love.
The Cure for Bad Grammar
If your writing has been bad in the past, chances are not many people know.
There are millions of readers out there. Here are five ways you can write material that is easy and pleasing to read.
Get an editor. Do you know someone that has a way with words? Have her read your drafts.
Take her suggestions. Use them to polish your work, and improve your future work.
Read a lot. Go to your local library and check out the bestsellers. If your budget allows, buy the best books from Amazon. Join Amazon prime and read all you want.
When you see how the bestselling writers write, you’ll be inspired to write better.
Always strive to improve – one thing at a time. You can always get better. Don’t try to fix everything at once. Start with general tips and get more specific later.
You won’t build a city in an afternoon. Build your skills one brick at a time.
Practice in public. Share your work with people you trust first. Find those who will tell you the truth without putting you down. Then share your work with the world. It’s risky, but it’s worth it. If you’ve done the work, you’ll reap the rewards.
Be open to suggestions from readers. As you build your audience and your skills, you’ll get responses.
- Examine them honestly.
- Use what’s helpful.
- Ignore what isn’t.
Press on, writer. Write well, and your work will shine.
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