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January 02, 2020

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Bart Rosenberg


"This Stairway Was Rehabilitated" - should not the Was be lower case? It's a minor word (like the following ...in...).

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Bart,

"Was" is a verb. Verbs are always capitalized in titles, no matter how small they are.

Lynn

Deborah

Hi Lynn,

Do you know what appalls me? The fact that people don't even ask themselves "Am I possibly making a mistake? Should I check my writing before having it printed on a wall for everyone to see? Could my bad writing affect the image of the Department?". Not only the person who wrote this in the first place, but everyone between them and those who realised the image on the wall. It's unbelievable that nobody considered the importance of correct writing.

Lionel B. Dyck

Check out this headline - does it seem a bit off?

"French police shoot dead man near Paris after stabbing attempt"
From https://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/French-police-shoot-dead-man-near-Paris-after-stabbing-attempt-612998

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Deborah, thanks for that important, passionately stated point. It IS unbelievable that no one caught these errors before the plaque went up. That said, most signs I see are correct. So some people are working hard at getting things right. I'm grateful to them.

Lynn

Patty Rechberger

@Deborah,

Those are my thoughts as well. This sign must have passed a number of people before it landed on its final place. Nobody took responsibility nor cared to make sure it was correct. Particularly, the person who originally wrote it probably never thought of having it checked. That is not a great strategy.

This brings a question I deal with at work and find delicate to address. In our marketing department, one worker creates beautiful designs, is very responsive, always follows up and has a wonderful attitude. However, they are not a great writer. Content creation is not their responsibility, and each department is responsible for reviewing marketing materials created for them and get back to the marketing person with revisions. As you can imagine, not every department in the company has strong writers/ editors/ reviewers. It pains me to see mistakes on other departments' materials, and it is not technically my job to correct them, but if I say nothing, we could end up with a bad sign! So my question is, how do you address this issue with kindness and respect?

Cordially,
Patty

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lionel, what a wild and crazy headline! Thanks for sharing it. I will be sure to do something with it soon.

Lynn

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Patty, what a great question. Well, the marketing department has a wonderful design person. One solution would be for marketing to add proofreading to their services (and editing if necessary). The marketing design person would create the design, and the marketing editor would send a corrected, beautifully designed version back to the requesting department. It would be ideal if the marketing department had final approval of any such communications--for example, if marketing oversaw signage.

Short of that major change, you are justified in respectfully pointing out errors. In fact, even though it is not technically your job to correct them, as you say, it is everyone's job to help the company be successful. I think it's important to reach out with your guidance. Others will decide whether to accept it.

You ask, "How do you address this issue with kindness and respect?" Are you wondering how to give this constructive feedback, or are you asking something else?

If you want some words to introduce a correction, you might say something like this: "I saw the final copy on the ABC sign, and I want to let you know about an error before it gets printed. I know the sign is an important part of your ABC campaign and that you want it to be perfect." There's more you could say, of course, depending on the situation. And you would let the right person know about the error without copying others on your communication.

Does that help? Thanks for the discussion!

Lynn

Patty Rechberger

Hi Lynn,

We do have a wonderful design person! And yes, that was my question. I do believe I should say something, but sometimes I feel self-conscious about offering feedback that includes what could be perceived as a negative take on someone else's work. I like your approach and found your feedback very helpful, thank you!

Cordially,
Patty

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Patty, you are welcome. And thanks for responding.

Good luck!

Lynn

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