(This post has been edited)
Hot off the press! Entrepreneur and LinkedIn Influencer James Caan CBE was recently called out by someone in the comments section of his Aug 10 post. The keen-sighted “commentard” spotted a first line blooper, a classical grammatical mistake – one grammatical mistake, long since corrected – and took him to task over it. And you know what? I’m pleased the whole “non-story” came to light. Pleased not through Schadenfreude (Oh, how the mighty may stumble and fall), not because Mr. Caan thought it necessary to take the time and write his Mea Culpa.
No, I’m pleased because Mr. Caan explained in an unassuming way that he, not a PR team, ghost-writer, bot or whatever wrote the article and in doing so raised a good point: With the abundance of advice and counsel available today, are we becoming more critical and less tolerant of even occasional and benign mistakes others may make when communicating (he who has never sinned, etc.)? I’m pleased because I’m not sure people even draw a benefit from criticizing others and this was an exercise in putting things back into perspective.
Error, what error?
I know one Localization team – stand up, you know who you are – who apply (or did so when I was with them) a noteworthy error grading structure (minor, major, critical and blooping show-stopper) for all their translations, that basically asked: Does an error corrupt the messaging, yes or no and if so, explain to what degree. The aim was to get the reviewer to qualify the error and rate its impact on the overall message. This helped optimize content flow, eliminate redundancy, reduce endless, often unnecessary communications, hold people accountable and best of all, neutralize unqualified comments.
As for me, James Caan’s recent (Aug 16) post was helpful in several ways. Firstly, it motivated me to move on with an article that had been sitting in my pending folder for a few weeks now and it inspired this post. Secondly it also helped to confirm that if you have the aptitude you can write, you just need the tools: a subject, inspiration, motivation, time, a thick skin, discipline, a good level of grammar, an eye for detail, a faculty for expression and a vision of where you want to go”. Finally, it also confirmed, as if it needed saying, that no matter how good you are, people will also find matter to criticize your work (again that John 8:7).
Personally, I love writing, not because I like the sound of my own voice but because I love playing with words, syntaxes, meanings etc., and writing gives me the canvas to do it on. Different people have different ways of expressing themselves. Some people paint, some build, some teach, others debate and the really gifted communicators do all of that. Me, I like writing, and you?