Proofing

Every document from a quick one or two-sentence e-mail to a cover letter, from an executive briefing to a sales letter, and from a memo to a policy and procedure manual must be 100 percent error-free.  No mistakes.  No kidding.

HR professionals are appalled by the typos, sloppiness and blatant misspellings in cover letters as well as resumes.  Executives are miffed by the e-mails sent around the world from the cubicle 500 feet away. What does this say about the writer  What does it say about you if you are guilty?

I’m certain you’ve received an e-mail, letter, attachment, memo or the like that has one or two, or shockingly, up to 10 or more mistakes.  What do you think of the writer?  What is your first reaction to the plea, information, product, appeal?  That’s right – negative thoughts.  Why?

As we write more and more, the English language gets bastardized because of text messaging, carelessness and apathy.  “Just get the words down…now.”  “Who cares?”  “They (the reader) won’t notice.”  What goes through your head when you press the “send” key and your document has error upon error?  Did you notice?  Did you take the time to proof the document?

I’m guilty; I admit.  I conducted a writing class – of all the classes I teach – and two astute attendees pointed out small – but mighty- typographical errors in my workbook.  YIKES.  These reek of sloppy copy.

Take the time.  Notice what your reactions are when you receive something that’s not 100 percent error-free and then place yourself in the eyes of the reader of your missive.  Care about your readers.

I was asked recently to volunteer for a non-profit phone bank.  The thank you and information letter had not one, not two, not three, but 12 errors on the one-pager.  Twelve!  This shocks me. Yourletters are a reflection on the company, product and/or service, as well as the writer!

Take the time to proof.  Give your documents to one, if not two other people to proof.  It’s difficult, if not impossible, to proof your own work, especially from the computer screen.  Others see your mistakes faster than you do.

Watch for your word worries.  I have yet to write “from” initially, it comes out “form.”  “Form” is a word and Spellchecker won’t catch it.  Spellchecker’s an invaluable tool, but don’t depend on it for 100 percent error-free documents.

Here’s to 100 percent. 

 

 

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