Good writing can have great value in several fields, not just in public relations, marketing or social media. You can have a great story and a solid piece of writing, but it can be easily overshadowed if you have typographical errors (“typos”) in the copy. Typos make you, your work and your company look unprofessional and unqualified. It sends a message to your audience that you don’t care about your work, and this can impact your relationship with clients, subscribers, shareholders or other readers.
At the same time, in the “always-on” digital world that we live and work in, people are moving faster and faster and are far more distracted. As a result, some of us are spending less time making sure that our work is free of spelling errors, missing words, extra words or other grammatical mistakes.
I would much rather receive a piece of writing a bit later than originally planned that is free of typos than something that was done quickly but has errors and mistakes that need to be fixed. Take your time and give your written work the proper attention that it needs and deserves.
Make sure you are free of distractions and you can focus on what you are reviewing. Go to a quiet room, turn off email and chat, and remove all other distractions so that you can focus.
While it is good to run spell check after you have written something, don’t trust that it will catch everything. While it may identify a misspelled word, it could miss other mistakes like missing words or extra spaces.
This is especially important if you have read through a document several times already and are feeling some mental fatigue. Read the written work aloud to yourself (or someone else) so that you can find mistakes that your eyes may be glancing over the last time that you read it.
Having another “set of eyes” review your work is important. Ask a colleague or someone else on your team to proofread the document. Or, even better, ask two people to proofread your document, preferably someone who has never read the copy before. Again, this is important when you have been through several revisions and you have looked at it so much that you may be missing something.
Have the mindset that your written work will be free of typos before you turn it in. Pride yourself on finding and fixing errors before others find them for you. Take the time for this important “first screening,” and don’t expect others to find typos for you.
Quality work that is free of mistakes says a lot about you, your work and your company. It also helps get documents finalized and approved more quickly, and establishes you as a reliable writer. The right attitude, approach and habits can help you consistently create typo-free copy. Now I’m off to ask two co-workers to proofread this blog post before I turn it in!
How do you prevent typos in your writing? Tweet @drewmiale and let me know what tips you can share.