Our plates are full and we are always in a hurry to move to they next task, next customer, and next idea. We rush to get a document of email finished and press send. But wait! Did you read back threw what you have written? Should “is” be “it”, should “there” be “their”, should “sence” be “sense”? While I throughly understand that we oftentimes need to power through tasks to got everything done, it is imperative than you make sure you proofread every document, ever sentence and every word.
Here are some proofreading tips:
- Never put the addressee or cc addresses in your email until AFTER you are completely satisfied that the message is correct, written in the tone you intended, and the message is clear. By not having addressee entered, you won’t accidentally send the email until you are perfectly satisfied with the content.
- Never write a response to an email/letter when you are mad. Write the rebuttal/answer and save as a DRAFT. Take a break, go to lunch, take a walk around the building – then come back and reread the document. Have someone else read the document without explaining what your intentions are, and then have them tell you their understanding and impressions of the email. You should never purposefully hurt anyone with your words. Frustration is a difficult thing and you cannot take written words back.
- Read what you write from the end – backwards. You will oftentimes catch mis-spellings when you use this technique. Remember, this will NOT catch mis-used words such as at, it, be, me, they, them, etc. You must read it forward to catch these errors.
- Read your text out loud. You will be astounded at what some documents sound like when you use your voice to convey your message.
- For goodness sake – use spell-check!
- Use basic grammatical fundamentals. Write sentences using the correct form of verbs, correct punctuation, and proper capitalization.
- Do not over-abbreviate or over-use acronyms in professional documents/correspondence – LOL. Of course there are exceptions (for example: Ltd., Inc., St., Rd. Ave., USA, etc.)
- Do not use emoticons in professional documents. 🙁 <3
- Try not to over-use symbols in professional documents. Using & instead of and, or # instead of number is sometimes too casual for the document.
- Do not go on, and on, and on, and on, and on…. The person reading the document may be in the same time crunch as you are and getting to the point is important. This does not mean that you should be vague and assume information, it just means that you should write in a clear, concise manner.
BTW – did you catch all my misteaks?