I Published A Few Typos!

This morning I received a call from a regular reader. His first words were “I can’t share this missive.” He followed this up with “Emerge Stronger From The Downturn has several typos in it, and you never have typos which is one of the reasons I like to read what you write.”

Two emotions warred within me upon hearing this. First, I was aghast that I had made not just one but several mistakes…kindly called typos…as the missive undergoes several final reviews to make sure there aren’t such things in it to annoy my loyal and so erudite readers.

Second, I was happy that he caught the mistakes (and told him so) and was willing to call and share them with me so I could fix them for future readers. If you open Emerge Stronger From The Downturn now, you will see the corrected version.

There was one matter on which my reader and I disagreed, however. One thing in the missive that he thought was a mistake was actually deliberately written exactly as it was presented. A discussion ensued about how opinions can differ on correct usage. Should you care to put your detective hat on and peruse my missive in search of this point of dispute, have fun. And let me know what you discover.

My reader and I rounded out our conversation by discussing the “missive worthiness” of this event. How many other readers noticed these mistakes and perhaps also disagreed with the disputed usage? And yet, only this one reader was willing to step up and let me know that I had sent out something needing fixing.

This is a common occurrence. People notice mistakes and keep this to themselves rather than nicely letting the one who made the mistake know so they can correct it. But getting better at just about everything comes from people letting you know when you’re doing something poorly, especially if they offer good suggestions for improvement.

I have had famous chefs as clients for quite some time. To a person they tell me that they would rather someone tell them when something is wrong than just stew in silence. How can the chef take care of the problem that led to their having an unhappy customer if they don’t know the problem exists?

Of course, it’s important that you let someone know you’re unhappy with their product or service in the right way. Complaints fall into two broad categories: instrumental and expressive.

An instrumental complaint is calmly letting the chef know that you waited a half hour for your appetizer and then the hot soup arrived cold. This customer is polite and the complaint clearly states the problem in a way that gives the chef information they can use to correct the problem.

An expressive complaint is loudly telling everyone around you what a dolt the chef is for not knowing how to cook soup…and then wondering aloud how the chef ever managed to get a job cooking in an actual restaurant. We call these complaints venting, griping, or kvetching. They have limited value to the chef but do offend them and annoy everyone else within earshot.

If you’re an expressive complainer, stop it. All you can expect to achieve from such an approach is to aggravate everyone around you, annoy the chef, and find yourself escorted to the door and told never to return.

Be an instrumental complainer and help the offender improve. Those of us who make mistakes will thank you for helping us improve. And every now and then you might get dinner on the chef.

One last thing…there are some people who actually do manage to be perfect, at least some of the time. Watch Katelyn Ohashi joyfully show you what this looks like.




Commenting area

  1. Another perspective:
    I see typos of proof that the author is a person, not a bot; someone with something to say that may spend more time on content than style. Humans are perfectly imperfect. As long as the typo doesn’t change or confuse the character of the content, then to me a few typos are actually welcome.
    As we’ve discussed before, products that are too perfect can put people off. The standards are so high that others may be intimidated and decide not to engage in the conversation.
    A few imperfections, a proof of humanity, it’s all good – to me, and engaging.

  2. andrew frothingham February 26, 2019 at 6:01 pm · · Reply

    I love the use of the verb “stew” in the sections about chefs.

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