Millions are now spending time writing, blogging and editing online content and for many the occasional email or call to advise of a typo is very well received. The fact that someone would take time out of their busy schedule to contact you personally and provide you with the opportunity to correct a mistake that could negatively influence your reputation reflects a considerate and selfless act. Certainly there are individuals who gain a sense of superiority by correcting others but I choose to believe this is less likely in those who advise of a mistake in confidence. As for those who feel the need to correct others publicly with a dash of humiliation in a demeaning fashion, this is likely a stark contrast in personality.
What is the benefit to anyone who chooses to publicly demean someone for making a mistake? Is it possible they really are just trying to be helpful and lack professionalism, common sense or empathy? Or maybe it is simply a lack of maturity.
“Hey look everyone! Gather around! Joey left his fly open.”
As children, there were those who derived great pleasure by publicly humiliating others for their mistakes but as maturing adults it is expected that our experiences will enhance our capacity to empathize and the knowledge we gain will generate respect for others and the ability to offer discretion and diplomacy.
Recently, at a professional networking presentation attended by over 100 attendees, an individual yelled out from the audience to point out a typo on a particular slide. The presenter chose not to respond to an unproductive, negative comment and continued the presentation for the benefit of the rest of the audience. Despite that, the loud mouthed attendee yelled out a second time from the audience because he was miffed that he was not acknowledged for his “valuable contribution”. What was he thinking? What impression do you think he left with the speaker and the audience?
Keep it private not public! If you are advising someone of a mistake they’ve made, do it in confidence and in an unpretentious manner. You never know when you’ll be in need of the same consideration and appreciate the opportunity to correct a mistake.