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Sep 29, 2015

I may be the worst writer in the world to be interviewing someone who has written a book with the subtitle “A Complete Guide to Style, Grammar, and Usage at Work.” Honestly, I haven’t paid strict attention to the rules of grammar since high school.

SANDRA E. LAMB podcast excerpt: "I think even Hillary Clinton has conceded that it's very important that you know the office e-mail rules and follow the rules. Meticulously. That is going to put you in better stead with your employer."

Some time in college, I figured out that if I focused on style and telling a coherent story, no one paid as much attention to my grammatical sins. Oh, and it helps to be a pretty good speller, too.

SANDRA E. LAMB podcast excerpt: "There are special requirements for the business writers, those people who have to write at work. Since the advent of the Internet -- and since business is done almost entirely by e-mail -- there is good news and bad news. The good news is that we have the immediacy of being able to communicate with people in an instant. Sometimes, in fact, I feel like I get an answer before I've asked the question! That also has a dark side. Senior executives who supervise a lot of people say that, within the workplace, e-mail is being rampantly fractured by people who are not using it properly."

But that’s just me. Most people in business need to pay more attention to the technical details of what they write – alongside producing good content. In an instantaneous, electronic era where your audience of executives, managers or co-workers can receive documents from you in the blink of an eye – and no takebacks! – getting it right the first time is the only shot you get. 

Key interview moments:

• 2:05 There are right ways and wrong ways to write for work and too many people are doing it wrong;

• 9:58 Hillary Clinton's ongoing issues with classified e-mails and a private server should remind everyone in an office that there is knowing the rules, following te rules -- and disregarding the rules;

• 22:34 Caution: Yield to grammar usage--or not!

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