Misspell wisely

It seems counter-intuitive, but sometimes it’s okay to be casual in business communication. But it’s important to know when it’s appropriate. notepad-pencil

I’m very busy, so my emails can be quite casual and quick. I might respond with just a couple of words, but that’s usually to people I already know. If I’m contacting someone for the first time, I make sure my grammar and spelling are correct, and that I also sound intelligent and professional. After all, I want to make a good impression.

However, that’s not what Evan Spiegel, the CEO of Snapchat, did when he responded to Mark Zuckerberg’s email with a request to meet at Facebook’s headquarters.

Kevin Roose, who wrote a fascinating column about it on LinkedIn, said most people would think it through before crafting a professional response. But Spiegel’s response was very casual: “Thanks 🙂 would be happy to meet — I’ll let you know when I make it up to the Bay Area.”

The language he used and the inclusion of the smiley emoticon reflects an exchange between familiar friends, not CEO’s of major companies. Roose says it’s a “brilliant” move because his informal reply showed Zuckerberg that they’re equals.

It could be brilliant, or it could just adequately reflect Spiegel’s general communication style. It’s a confident response that worked for him but may not work for everyone. It really depends on the situation. In this case, Spiegel seemed to feel comfortable and understood the business culture in which he was operating.

Communication is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Hopefully other business owners won’t do what he did just because he was successful (Facebook offered to buy his company for a few billion dollars). It’s obviously best to assess the situation and relationship to determine the most effective way to communicate with others. There are plenty of people who are particular about proper English usage and expect formality, while others would see such an email as stuffy.

What do you think? Has a casual style helped you?


By | January 11th, 2014|Business|Comments Off on Misspell wisely

About the Author:

Barry Moltz gets business owners unstuck by unlocking their long forgotten potential. With decades of entrepreneurial experience in his own business ventures, he has discovered the formula to get stuck business owners and increasing their sales. Barry has founded and run small businesses with a great deal of success and failure for more than 20 years. After successfully selling his last operating business, Barry founded an angel investor group, an angel fund, and is a former advisory member of the board of the Angel Capital Education Foundation. His first book, “You Need to Be A Little Crazy: The Truth about Starting and Growing Your Business” describes the ups and downs and emotional trials of running a business. His second book, “Bounce! Failure, Resiliency and the Confidence to Achieve Your Next Great Success”, shows what it takes to come back and develop true business confidence. His third book, “BAM! Delivering Customer Service in a Self-Service World” shows how customer service is the new marketing. His fourth book, “Small Town Rules: How Small Business and Big Brands can Profit in a Connected Economy” shows how when every customer can talk to every other customer, it’s like living in a small town: Your reputation is everything! His fifth book, “How to Get Unstuck: 25 Ways to Get Your Business Growing Again” helps every small business owners move their company to the next level. Barry is a nationally recognized speaker on small business who has given hundreds of presentations to audiences ranging in size from 20 to 20,000. As a member of the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame, he has appeared on many TV and radio programs such as CNBC’s The Big Idea, and MSNBC’s Your Business. He hosts his own radio show on AM560, and writes for American Express and Forbes.