I’ve been working with a young graphics artist to clean up JibberJobber. We’ve been working on “cleaning up” JibberJobber for the last almost-eight years, since we went live.
The problem we have at JibberJobber is the same problem I see on LinkedIn profiles, and company websites. It’s what I call distraction, or noise. I have said that every single word, even every character, either adds to or takes away from the message.
Can you imagine if Nike made a mistake and spelled their name Nikee on a few pieces of marketing material?
That would be a huge distraction. Of course, Nike is well-branded and we are going to forgive them. We already know who they are, and we trust them (to make shoes that are pretty good). They’ll probably get some awesome PR (like they really need it… not).
You, my friend, are probably NOT well-enough branded to get the same goodness that a spelling error like that gives to a company like that. I’m not well-enough branded, and neither is JibberJobber. Distractions and noise for regular people and small companies cause what I call friction.
Marketing friction causes discomfort, confusion and pain right away. The trust level plummets. The thought is “if they can’t spell a word right, can I trust them with my information, especially my credit card?” One little typo, or a grammar mistake, can cause this friction.
You’ve heard that your resume should have no spelling errors, right? Any little spelling error can make an OCD reviewer gag and want to switch careers. They can’t fathom anyone being so classless as to have an error on their resume. They take that one little error and disqualify you. The more OCD reviewers might disqualify you for life :p. Regular, kind and even forgiving people might not disqualify you right away. They might be able to read past a typo or two and understand what your career has been, and what they might get from you if they hire you.
I wouldn’t gamble my future on which type of reviewer is going to see my resume.
The resume error is one example of creating friction in our communication. Friction also comes from the way we look, the way we dress, our accent, our punctuality, our body language, the grammar or words we choose, etc. Friction can also come from anything the person we’re talking to might use to discriminate – race, age, religion, etc.
I’m not saying you have to become a vanilla, boring, mainstream person. What I’m saying is that mistakes in communication can be “the problem.”
I used to work with a software developer who is brilliant. He was the go-to guy that all of the other developers would get help from when they were stuck. He understood computer stuff, whether it was hardware, software, networking, PCs, servers, etc. like no one else I have known. But the guy couldn’t spell very well. If he didn’t have someone proof his resume I’m sure it would have ended up in the trash bin, because there would be multiple spelling errors.
Isn’t it sad that people can’t get past certain criteria to see the brilliance of who we are? It’s the world we live in.
Here is the take-away from this post: What can YOU do to decrease the friction you may be introducing in your communication with others?