Whenever I see something posted on social media by a paralegal that demonstrates a success they’ve had, it literally puts a smile on my face. I am genuinely happy for them and I take it as a win for the entire profession.
That shining moment loses a bit of its luster when the post is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors.
Why it happens.
I get it. We post things on the go. We use our mobile devices. Sometimes the autocorrect function, autoincorrects what we’ve written. Depending on where we’re posting, we may only have 280 characters to get our message across. I understand all these things, but I don’t sympathize.
Here’s what paralegals need to understand.
Words are the tools of our trade. If you’re seen not to be able to use those tools, you’re seen not to be able to do your job.
Spelling and grammar errors diminish your credibility. They distract the reader from your message and can impact their comprehension. A client reading your post may think that if you can’t understand the difference between your and you’re, you may not understand their complex problem. The same goes for a colleague who is looking to refer a client to you.
Seem harsh? Maybe you’re asking yourself, “How can one or two spelling mistakes cost me a client or a recommendation?” The truth is, it’s not just the one or two spelling errors that are costing you. It’s that you made the errors, that you didn’t proofread your message, you posted it online and then didn’t bother to read it again after it was up. Is that how you do your work? Is that how you treat a client file? I’m guessing the answer is no to both questions, but you give off the impression that it is.
Every post and every tweet is an opportunity. Every comment or reaction to someone else’s post or tweet is also an opportunity.
An opportunity for what?
Good question. It’s an opportunity to show the world that you are an intelligent and articulate paralegal.
It’s an opportunity to show that you consider things carefully, put time and effort into the things you do and that you can craft a clear and concise message. After all, these are the things our clients want to make sure we can do for them.
Does it even matter?
YES! A thousand times YES!
Like I said, grammar and spelling errors diminish a writer’s credibility. Clients (and colleagues looking to refer a matter) are turned off by these mistakes, so you could be missing out. There’s one more thing … and this is so very important for paralegals to understand …
When you look good, WE ALL LOOK GOOD!
If you want to promote our profession in a positive way, here’s how to do it. Get your messages across clearly, concisely and error-free. Showing that we are competent, well-spoken and capable will inspire our regulator, others in the legal profession and, most importantly, the public to trust us with their legal matters.