I write this post, because yesterday I had a lot of writing assignments to do including emails and I had typos and misspellings in every piece I wrote. It was a bad day, but it was a great day to learn a BIG LESSON.
Always Proofread Your Work Before Posting Or Sending It Out!
I was overwhelmed yesterday by the amount of work I had to get done and I skipped the Spellcheck feature as well as re-reading my work. At the end of the day, I felt I had wasted my time. The emails I sent out were not my usual, carefully crafted work. Typos, in my opinion, are inexcusable. Did I keep up my work schedule? Yes! But at what cost?
It’s not the quantity of the work; it’s the quality of the work that matters. Thank goodness, I didn’t have to submit anything for a wide audience, but every member of your audience deserves your full attention. Your work should contain new ideas or at least another way of looking at existing ideas. That makes you and your work stand out.
My virtual assistant business, Virtual Colleague, LLC, specializes in writing projects. Yesterday was the worse day I’ve had at the office in quite a while, but it will never happen again. I’ve put measures in place, so I will never rush through a project or skip steps to get everything done on time. I usually finish my projects ahead of schedule. I pride myself on doing that, so any last minute changes will not keep me from submitting my work on time. Skipping steps is not one of the ways to meet deadlines.
What Exactly Is Proofreading?
According to https://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/Proofreading, “proofreading means examining your test carefully to find and correct typographical errors and mistakes in grammar, style, and spelling.”
The Writing Center of the University of Wisconsin also lists some “helpful tips, when you proofread:
- Work from a printout, not the computer screen. (But see below for computer functions that can help you find some kinds of mistakes.)
- Read out loud. This is especially helpful for spotting run-on sentences, but you’ll also hear other problems that you may not see when reading silently.
- Use a blank sheet of paper to cover up the lines below the one you’re reading. This technique keeps you from skipping ahead of possible mistakes.
- Use the search function of the computer to find mistakes you’re likely to make. Search for “it,” for instance, if you confuse “its” and “it’s;” for “-ing” if dangling modifiers are a problem; for opening parentheses or quote marks if you tend to leave out the closing ones.
- If you tend to make many mistakes, check separately for each kind of error, moving from the most to the least important, and following whatever technique works best for you to identify that kind of mistake.
For instance, read through once (backwards, sentence by sentence) to check for fragments; read through again (forward) to be sure subjects and verbs agree, and again (perhaps using a computer search for “this,” “it,” and “they”) to trace pronouns to antecedents.
- End with a spelling check, using a computer spelling checker or reading backwards word by word.
But remember that a spelling checker won’t catch mistakes with homonyms (e.g., “they’re,” “their,” “there”) or certain typos (like “he” for “the”).”
I usually proofread my work at least 3 times before submitting or sending it out. Yesterday was the exception.
Why Am I So Upset About This?
Perception is everything, when you’re in business. Potential customers and clients see your work as in indication of what THEY can expect from you. If there’s typos, misspelled words, or bad punctuation; then they will look to another business to fulfill their needs. That’s why it’s so important not only to make a good first impression, but to consistently perform at a high level, so your business persona shines and stands out from the rest.
No One Is Perfect, But Practice Makes Perfect!
That’s why it’s so important to do your best at all times. As a virtual assistant, I strive to maintain high standards and share those standards with all of my clients. Proofreading makes perfect!
Did you ever have a bad proofreading experience ? Share it below.
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