Determine the right amount of proofing - Step 7 – Proof

7 Steps to Better Writing - Charles Maxwell 2020

Determine the right amount of proofing
Step 7 – Proof

Have you ever spent a lot of time proofing a report, thought it was finally done, and sent it out, only to learn later that it contained stupid and embarrassing errors?

Even simple errors can make you look bad. Mistakes of any type diminish your credibility. Writing errors are similar to carrots covered with dirt from the garden—the carrots are nutritious, but no one is willing to eat them until the dirt has been washed off. In a similar way, when you fail to correct annoying errors, you are going to turn off readers.

An old saying goes, “Check everything twice.” This is especially true when proofing an important document. In fact, twice might be only half enough.

Determine the right amount of proofing

A document’s purpose helps determine the appropriate amount of proofing. Something you write for yourself may need little if any proofing, but documents intended for others require some rechecking. Even a short text message you prepare on your phone can benefit from a quick reread before you press “send.” Meanwhile, long, complex, business documents require thorough and systematic proofing, especially if the audience is fussy.