Communication Made Easy — Speaking, Editing, Writing, Marketing, Networking Answers

A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but words themselves are at the basis of all communication. Whether we are communicating for business or personal reasons, our spoken and written words matter. These posts will address issues and answer questions related primarily to business communications, as they affect writing, credibility, marketing, and networking.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Bad Spelling: Not Always a Laughing Matter

­WARNING: The following post is not PC. If black humor offends you, stop reading now and click over to Reader’s Digest or Garrison Keillor.

To appreciate this story, you really have to know Todd. He is a Certified Financial Planner™, but he’s unlike any financial advisor you’ve ever met. He is, of course, smart, charming, and well-versed in financial matters, but his approach is holistic, educational . . . spiritual, even. And what’s more, he’s funny.

He jokes that in the year since we met, my sense of humor has increased noticeably and measurably, just due to his humorous influence and subsequent, if unintended, tutelage in the art of funniness.

Being an unconventional planner, we figured Todd's company, Azmyth Financial, should keep unconventional hours: 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., 6 days a week, sounded pretty good. Don’t try to schedule an early a.m. session, though – that is the time he specifically reserves for rest, rejuvenation, and the challenging dreamwork and visioning that enables him to serve his clients with a more intuitive, spiritual, nonjudgmental, holistic approach than any other financial planning service in the galaxy. Lately, though, he’s been choosing to close up shop by midnight – a tad on the early side.

“But if a client needed you – you know, in a financial emergency – you’d stay open, right?” I asked the other night.

“Oh, sure,” he said agreeably.

“You’d be there to talk them down if they were ready to jump off a bridge at 2 a.m.?” I asked further, for clarification.

“Don’t joke about that. That’s serious. It’s really happened,” came his quick response.
“To you? You’ve actually had to talk someone off a ledge?” I asked, incredulous. He’d never mentioned such an act of bravery and heroism.

“Well, no, not to me personally. But it has happened,” he explained. “And it’s much more likely to happen in my industry than in yours,” he quipped. “I can just see it now:

‘It's obvious. I’ve always been a rotten speller, and I'm always going to be a rotten speller. I can’t go on. I must end it now.’

‘No, no - you’re a good speller, really – and a great writer. Please come down
from that ledge.”

‘I can’t. I never know whether it’s a comma, colon, semicolon, or a dash. And the its . . . forget the its. Is it it’s or its? Who knows? How can I ever hope to keep it all straight? It’s no use . . . I’m jumping.’

‘No please. Don't jump . . . we can work this out. It’s not so bad. We can fix it. There are tutors. Editors. SpellCheck!!’"
OK – so it turns out Todd’s right – again. I’m much less likely to find myself facing such a dramatic, life-or-death scenario...although I did have a client once who called me at 11:30 p.m. to ask if a particular comma on page 83 of the 27th draft of her book was really necessary.

Now, I realize that jumping to one’s death – whether over their, they’re, and there, or a pending lawsuit and potential financial ruin – is really never funny. I get that. But Todd truly is a gifted planner who can help virtually anyone in any financial circumstance, whether it’s getting out from under a mountain of debt or handling assets in excess of several million dollars. And if you called him with a 2 a.m. emergency, I have not doubt that he really would help you.
In the meantime, you can call me 24/7 if you ever need help figuring out whether it’s affect or effect.
On balance, I’d say it’s a tossup as to whose work is more valuable in a civilized society such as our own: a sound recommendation for appropriate asset allocation or help spelling recommendation. You decide. And let me know. There's a Starbucks latte riding on the outcome of your decision.

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