Monday, July 14, 2008

Check Your Business Writing

Spelling and grammar are so important in business writing that I'm surprised that many people don't take the extra time to proofread their own copy. I'm not talking about running the copy through the computer's spell-check program but read the copy with their own eyes starting at the first word and ending with the last.

I can remember many years ago being handed a brochure from a potential client. They were very proud of their latest sales piece and attempted to use it as a way of saying "we already have beautiful collateral material and don't need your services at this time." Quickly scanning the brochure it seemed as though my eye went directly to the word "accommodations." Call it divine intervention, call it proofreader's perception, whatever it is, I saw the mistake.

What the prospect meant to say was that their staff received many commendations (awards). Unfortunately, the 5,000 copies of the brochure stated their staff received accommodations, or hotel rooms. Ouch!

The spell-check did its job. Both accommodations and commendations were spelled correctly, but the improper use and lack of proofreading cost that company major dollars.

My suggestion to you... run all your documents through the computer's spelling and grammar check. Listen to the recommendations, sometimes they are warranted, sometimes not. Next, proofread your copy, and if you have the luxury, run the copy by another set of eyes. I can't tell you how many times that I couldn't pick up my own mistakes during a first reading. Check and check again.

If I can write, proofread, and come back the next day and proofread again then I'm usually in good shape. Find out what works best for you. But please, whatever you do, read what you write.

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