Bring Them in With Style

In our upcoming March/April issue, we have a feature about a consumer panel we brought in to give feedback on real estate professionals’ bios. One of the biggest complaints? Sloppy grammar and spelling mistakes.

Credit: DMedina 2014, Morguefile

Credit: DMedina 2014, Morguefile

As a writer, I don’t need much convincing as to the power of the written word. Real estate professionals, on the other hand, are a different matter. They are trained to respond to e-mails at lightning speed, not necessarily reading over what they’ve written before hitting the “send” button. They’re encouraged to quickly get the word out about their business through blogs posts and Facebook updates, giving them little time to deploy spell check.

But what about the business proposition of good writing? We’ve often made the argument that accurate, concise, intelligible communication is valued by your clients and colleagues alike, and I think the piece in the March/April issue will really drive this point home from the consumer perspective. However, I read something this week that summed it up so well, I had to share it with readers here. I recently picked up Steven Pinker’s The Sense of Style: A Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century (which I find to be excellent so far), and I couldn’t help but sharing his encouragement in the prologue, which seems almost to be written for the rushing real estate pro described above:

…Style earns trust. If readers can see that a writer cares about the consistency and accuracy of her prose, they will be reassured that the writer cares about those virtues in conduct they cannot see as easily. Here is how one technology executive explains why he rejects job applications filled with errors of grammar and punctuation: “If it takes someone more than 20 years to notice how to properly use it’s, then that’s not a learning curve I’m comfortable with.”

So stay tuned for our next issue (hitting mailboxes around the third week of March) to see how consumers define a successfully written bio in real estate. But in the meantime, know that I’m one of those silly writer-types who is going to be much more likely to work with someone who can string a sentence together!

Meg White

Meg White is the managing editor for REALTOR® Magazine and administrator of the magazine's Weekly Book Scan blog. Contact her at mwhite[at]

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  1. Barb

    Isn’t it “…one of those silly writer-types who IS going to be much more likely to work with someone who can string a sentence together!”

  2. Hah, speaking of silly! Yes. Thanks, Barb!