How well do you check your documents?
You Only Read What You Expect To See
Proofreading documents is quite hard. Our minds make us see what should be there, even though there are blaring mistakes staring right at you!!!! In the words of Mark Twain ‘You think you are reading proof, whereas you are merely reading your own mind; your statement of the thing is full of holes and vacancies but you don’t know it, because you are filling them from your mind as you go along.’
Spot The Mistake
Here are a few tips to help with proofreading documents, however if you’ve not got the time or even the patience to do it engaging some admin support to help you can save you that time and allow you to get on with the revenue driving tasks in your business.
Concentration is key – make sure you turn off your mobile, your notifications on your laptop, your email, anything that can potentially distract you. You need to concentrate to spot any mistakes.
Write it down – often we read things differently when reading on paper to reading on our phones or computer screens. Print out a copy of your document and check it. Read it aloud and make sure it reads right.
Pay attention to those words that have the same spelling or pronunciation, but have a different meaning. e.g. accept or except, stationary or stationery. You get the picture. These are actually called Homonyms!! Woo hoo! Look at me with my fancy words.
Read your document backwards – when we write we naturally don’t see our mistakes as our brains automatically correct the wrong words inside our sentences. If you read the text backwards word by word you will challenge your brain.
Take note of your punctuation – look for capitalised words, missing commas, extra full stops etc.
Look out for apostrophes and contractions – sometimes people mix up their and they’re, its or it’s, your and you’re. It’s quite a bugbear of mine, also people using been instead of being. Again this reflects on your credibility.
The Importance Of Proofreading Documents
A virtual assistant can provide a fresh pair of eyes to read over your document. They will provide an objective view and added peace of mind that your document is the best that you can make it and that it will be understood by the reader.
So just to summarise, outsourcing this task to a virtual assistant will check:-
How you’ve used your words & identify or amend words or phrases that your spellchecker won’t pick up.
Check your spelling or identify words used in the wrong context. I’ve recently come across a few people that don’t have spell check on their laptop which will make things much harder especially if you type like a banshee and mistype, which sometimes I do. Time is the essence ?
Check the punctuation, grammar, and capitalisation style.
When you issue your content, no matter what context it is in, it’s important to make sure you have no errors or confused understanding. Remember this will reflect on your business and the reputation of your brand.
Making sure that your document is free from any errors, is written concisely and is clear will reduce queries and if you are printing save you the cost of expensive reprints. I’ve seen lots of marketing stuff out there with errors of all kinds. It’s not the best look for your brand!!
There’s always help from Grammarly or I like Hemmingway Editor, but proofreading documents isn’t for everyone. If grammar, spelling and punctuation aren’t one of your strong points there’s nothing wrong with asking for some help. You might be brilliant at it but that fresh pair of eyes might just be the difference you make.
Purple Violet Business Support – “giving you time to focus on the important stuff”