Tag Archives: public relations

Why Relying On Spell Check Alone Isn’t Enough

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We’ve all been there. We sit behind a desk for hours, feverishly typing our thoughts. Four stressful hours and five cups of coffee later, we’re convinced we’ve written the “perfect” paper. We press the “send” button with a sense of accomplishment as the assignment is delivered to our professor/client/boss’ inbox. But soon we realize our perfect paper is far from that. The paper is soiled with spelling errors. We wonder, “How can I have spelling mistakes? I used spell check!”

There’s no rule saying you can’t use spell check. I actually think running spell check is important when you’re typing up a document. But it definitely should not be your only means of proofreading what you write.

Spell check will let you know if there is a group of letters that doesn’t form a word. For instance, if I type junp instead of jump, spell check with catch it. However, it will not recognize that a word is spelled wrong if it is used in the wrong context. If I type, “I red Tina Fey’s book,” instead of “I read Tina Fey’s book,” spell check won’t recognize the error because it’s spelled correctly.  As PR professionals, we cannot afford to let any grammatical errors creep in to our work. Publishing something with typos can hurt your credibility. If a journalist reads your mistake, he/she is likely to say, “What a bozo! There’s no way I’m using this,” and click “delete.” If your readers see it, they may say, “Why should I trust them if they can’t even spell?” Your client certainly won’t be happy.

Lately I’ve been noticing errors more often when I’m reading something or even when I’m watching the news. I’m surprised to find typos – even whole sentences misconstrued – almost every time I read the Staten Island Advance. I’ll also find spelling mistakes on ads in the nail salon. Please, don’t take a chance on losing credibility. Check your work.

For some of us, editing and re-editing can be daunting. Still, spell check is not the best tool to check for errors. The only surefire way to be error-free is to proofread your work. I find it better to print out a hard copy of my work and read it over, making changes with a red pencil. I’ll even hand it to my father or a friend and ask them to proofread it. Use a method that is right for you.

How do you proofread your work? Do you use spell check? What are some of your spelling nightmares?

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Public Relations: A Misunderstood Profession

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The results of a poll conducted by LinkedIn show that PR  is ranked No. 7 out of 10 jobs on the list of most confusing professions. Social media manager ranked No. 3. The professional networking site surveyed about 8,000 parents worldwide. Nearly 42% of these people who have children working in PR management said they could not describe what it is their son or daughter does for a living; for kids in social media management jobs, about 59%. To read the full article, click here.

While it may not come as a shock to some, it opened my eyes to how misunderstood our profession really is, part of the reason being that people simply don’t know what it is we do or understand the value. LinkedIn suggested a solution to this problem: make November 7 “Bring Your Parents to Work Day.” As clever as a reversal of “Bring Your Kids to Work Day” sounds, I feel like there should be a better way to raise awareness (PR professionals of the world, UNITE!). All kidding aside – maybe we should start by explaining what public relations is. Often times PR is broken down to handling the media and gaining publicity for a client to make them look good. It’s so much more than that. It’s a craft.

PRSA describes public relations as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and their publics.” For more information on the PRSA and its definition of PR, click here. PR is all about an exchange of information. It’s about engaging and keeping an open dialogue with a client or company’s stakeholders (employees, customers, the media, investors, activists, etc). This builds trust and credibility which raises the client’s reputation. As students, we learn that reputation is key. A damaged reputation is very hard to fix once that trust is broken. That’s why to be a successful PR person, it’s important to have a code of ethics to set boundaries and protect reputation. It’s also good to be adaptable, trustworthy and be able to write.

Ethical or Not? A Red Lobster Waitress Gets Suspended After Posting Photo of Receipt with Racial Slur

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Trying to decide the topic for my first blog post this week was a little challenging. As I searched for inspiration, my mind couldn’t help but wander to an article I read this weekend on PR Daily. It is a topic I plan on discussing in my Ethics class this week.

A Red Lobster in Franklin, Tenn. suspended a server for posting a photo of a customer’s receipt with a racial slur on Facebook this week. According to the article, the customer wrote “none” on the receipt’s line for tip and the n-word on the line for total. The waitress, who is black, showed a picture of the receipt to her father, who later posted it to Facebook. In the original image, the customer’s name is easy to make out. The waitress was suspended without pay. A Red Lobster spokesman said the suspension was “standard procedure” for employees who break company policy by doing things like posting pictures of customers’ receipts on social media networks. He also said the customer’s use of a racial slur was “completely disgusting,“ that it has no place in the restaurant or anywhere else and they plan to get to the bottom of it as quickly as possible.

What we don’t know is how long she was suspended for or if her suspension was really much of a suspension at all. In the article, the spokesman states that her suspension hasn’t actually caused her to miss any days of work and she’s scheduled to work a normal schedule next week. The only way I could see her not actually missing any days of work is if she was only suspended on the days she has off.

Should the company have suspended the waitress for violating company policy? Or should she have be given a less harsh punishment? The server could have argued that she didn’t know the company policy, though I don’t think that would have made much of a difference. While I feel sorry she was subject to such ignorance, the bottom line is she violated Red Lobster’s policy and her/her father’s actions could potentially put the company at risk of being sued by the customer.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your comments! To read the full story, visit PR Daily.