I know I’ve written about proofing before, and I feel compelled to do so again. The impression you make when you send out any written document can either make or break your sale. If your promotional material, cover letter, sales letter or e-mail has two or three typos in both the subject line and the first paragraph of your document, then you’ve already turned the reader off.
I receive a promotional newsletter from this company every week – or so it seems. The latest one: Subject line – “We’re reigstering for … .” Then the date: Auguat 20. Finally she tells you to “print and save this.” I wouldn’t want my clients or prospects to “print and save” a promotional flier with two blatant typos even before the message. In the follow-up she says, “To read more about it, and to hear about the impact we’ve had on business owners like yourself, click here….” (“Yourself” is the wrong pronoun usage, it needs to be “you.”)
She touts the teleseminar is “…filled with very valuable information to equip you to launch your business forward.” (“…equip you “with”… to launch….”)
This company is probably successful, but the impression I get from the e-mails is that it needs help before helping others. And you? What’s the impression people get from you, your service, your product and/or your company? It takes only three seconds for the reader to say, “Not a chance,” and move on. In those valuable three seconds you can move the world forward or set it back; you are responsible and in control.
Oh, I’ve made some blatant boo boo’s, I know. It’s embarrassing! Now, I hope that I send 100-percent-error-free documents. Do you proof everything that you send? If not, why not? Any small mistake that you miss may be huge to the reader. You set yourself above the competition with well written documents. I know you’ve read wretched documents that are riddled with grammatical mistakes and typos. What’s your impression of the writer? The adjectives add up. Now, ask yourself what your readers think of you when they receive something that’s written with little or no regard to proofing. Those same adjectives that you think about of other writers are now labeled on you. Whoops.
Spellcheck is grand, and yet it’s no panacea. Have someone else proof the documents. I work alone and every so often those vermin-like typos escape my magnifying eye. If I had someone to help me proof, believe me I’d set a record for running across the hall to ask my co-worker to proof, especially if it’s a proposal worth $100,000s. (Even if it’s only to your supervisor, it’s still worth the time to double and triple check.)
We’re in a competitive market. When you write a clear, concise, comprehensive, concrete and clear documents your readers herald the fact: Stand above your competition, stand above the others in your department. Prove to yourself and others that words do indeed make or break the impression you want to leave on your readers – prospects, clients, vendors, supervisors, co-workers or potential employers.
Leave a lasting positive impression: proof!