Are you in the habit of checking your work emails before you click send? If you don’t, you probably should. It could negatively affect your business.
Simple typos like ‘teh’ can look unprofessional, especially when you are corresponding with a client or other third party. Ideally, you want to present yourself as a professional and should communicate as such. People are judgemental bastards. People suck.
Of course, there are situations when you can relax and bend the grammatical rules. Consider your relationship and rapport with the recipient. When in doubt, ask a colleague to review your message.
The following proofreading tips are appropriate for anything from EDMs and manuscripts to speeches and newsletters.
Read from the End to the Start
How do you read backwards? Ah, no. When you proofread a document you are most likely very familiar with it because you wrote it. By the time you scour the page for errors you are probably skipping over the words and missing obvious mistakes.
To alleviate this terrible affliction, we recommend that you ask our Copywriting Commander for treatment. The cure comes in the form of reading the last sentence and then backtracking one sentence at a time until you find yourself back at the beginning of the article.
Rather than go with the flow, this method forces you to take the time think about each sentence in isolation.
Perform an Oral Presentation
Get your head out of the gutters. At Word Tweak, we leave the dirty talk for our short fiction and poetry. While self editing a thing, read it out loud. If you trip over the words, consider the poor reader. Are there pacing issues? Too many long-winded sentence stuctures? Too many short bursts that look like a Morse code decryption?
Refine your message, yo.
Use Browser Extensions and Other Tools to Cheat
Some people just need a spell checker for assurance. Did I spell ‘onomatopoeia’ correctly? What about ‘Mussolini’ or ‘squirrel’? Hitting up Google can be time consuming and disruptive so why not install Grammarly or an alternative web app? If you care about AU spelling then Grammarly will probably aggravate you (if you’re a passionate Australian wordsmith like me).
Print It; Read It; Change It; Send It
Do you hate the environment? Fuck the trees, man. Print that shit. Print everything. your eyes are probably not liking the whole gotta-read-everything-on-the-computer-screen thing anyway. Wow, that escalated quickly.
Scribble on paper and mark up your changes.
Kill Redundant Phrases
The best communications are short
and sweet. I often see ‘in order to’ when ‘to’ would suffice. yes, there are exceptions, especially when looking at creative writing (but we’ll discuss voice another time).
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