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Proofreading, Productivity, and Leadership: 5 Tips

Proofreading is Key to EfficiencyCareful Proofreading is a Vital Key to Efficiency.  Lack of careful proofreading will cost you time, energy and money.  Whether a leader in business, education or industry, you may feel you have insufficient staff or time to engage in careful review and editing of the text that goes to clients, vendors, or other agencies. However, when the time is not taken to ensure accuracy, mistakes in spelling, word usage, grammar, and punctuation happen. Productivity (and professional image) erodes.  Here are a few examples that

  • A marketing letter from a prestigious financial advising firm stated, “Our goal is to grow your wealth without risking the principle”.
  • An independent consultant distributed a sales flyer with the title, “Unleash the Executive Within”.
  • A magazine for small businesses published an article about leadership. Transformational versus Transactional Leadership was discussed within the text. However, when readers were to rate their leadership style, the graphic had one style listed twice.
Transactional Transactional

Even the oldest and most respected institutions have slippages and embarrassment. For example, the Vatican commissioned 6000 bronze, silver, and gold commemorative coins honoring Pope Francis. However the medals contained the name “Lesus” instead of “Jesus.”

Assess Your Work

The questions are, “How often do I neglect careful proofreading of my work or the work of others?” “Is my professional image a bit tarnished because materials are occasionally misspelled, inaccurate, or incomplete?”  Might others begin to doubt my ability to perform and contribute because of these seemingly small inaccuracies? If you are a potential client, would you have confidence in a financial consultant and doesn’t catch the inaccuracy of using the word “principle” rather than “principal” in the opening line of a marketing letter?

5 Tips on Proofreading to Enhance Productivity

If you would like to enhance your productivity by reducing the time and energy it takes to explain and redo problems caused by poor proofreading, consider the following tips:

  1. Schedule proofreading for a time when you are alert and in a non distracting setting.
  2. Read aloud and read slowly. This helps you see the difference between what is written and what you say.
  3. Make a cheat sheet if you are prone to misspell certain words (e.g. entrepreneur) or forget particular rules of grammar.
  4. Take the pause that refreshes. Take a break to provide a fresh look at the material, especially if the material is voluminous or detailed.
  5. Don’t depend on spell check. Read and check word usage to ensure you avoid problems with homonyms such as principle and principal.

Proofreading for leaders and their staffs is important because it avoids misunderstandings, extra time and energy to repair, and diminishes respect and trust of those who are in charge. The leader’s responsibility is to ensure the clarity, accuracy and completeness of all communications.  Take the time, work with your staff, or hire an expert to ensure the excellence you desire.

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