If you’d like a demonstration of democratic unproductivity, try settling writing style issues like the serial comma or the hyphenation of the word “e-mail” in a group. Months later, you’ll still be arguing (and the national debate on health care will look tame by comparison).
That’s why I recommend that each work group, department, division, or company adopt a published style manual and mandate strict adherence to that particular style to increase the consistency of their written messages. (To see a comprehensive matrix of 12 style manuals, visit www.textdoctor.com/stylemanuals.)
If necessary, each group can create a personalized style sheet to document where style choices differ from the adopted style manual. This process, however, can be costly and bloody.
Of course, everyone can play Frank Sinatra’s “I did it my way” at review meetings, but for those who want a coherent, consistent style, these steps outlined above will be helpful.
Read upcoming blog entries for more information about each style manual, including my opinions on each .