Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Hearty frustration

There have been two lively threads running on the CiB's freelance forum - one of the most useful resources for communicators in the UK. The first concerns the pretty dreadful standards - or, indeed, complete lack of punctuation prevalent among both school kids and new entrants to the world of work; while the second explores the polarities of 'the best communication for corporates'.

Now my position on the first debate is that English is dynamic and that we can't afford to be too stuffy in the way it's used today. The rules change as the generations change and our role as communicators is to ensure we reach the right audiences in a way that's relevant to them.

Personally, I hate sloppy punctuation; I hate txt-spk and lazy English. But I'm not stuck in a time warp. We can still write good English that connects with all ages - and be grammatical too. And perhaps, as professional communicators, the standards we set for grammar and punctuation may just be taken up by some of the non-professional-communicators who operate in every organisation today.

On the second debate, I get heartily fed up with people who jump either into the print or the electronic camps. Both print and electronic channels are a means to an end. Surely communication is what organisations make of it? That means finding the best ways to create dialogue with audiences that enable them to do their job better and feel better about doing it. Too often these CiB debates get hung up on the tools and provide a lot of heat but little light on how best we can make the right connections.

Print and electronic both have their place - as does face-to-face. The magic is finding the right blend.

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