We’ve all seen the Geico commercials and heard their tagline ‘Fifteen minutes could save you 15 per cent or more on car insurance’. Fifteen minutes is not a huge amount of time and in the end it benefits the customer. The same is true when it comes to proofreading. It doesn’t have to take a long time, but the time it does take is definitely worth it.
The Benefits and Consequences
Have you ever read an article, blog post or press release that had glaring typos or other errors? You shake your head wondering how nobody noticed before it was sent out. The error can be so obvious and may be what you remember most. Worse, it may (and probably will) mean you will tune out and ignore the piece entirely.
Mistakes stand out and people notice them. Proofreading is a vital part of our process. While mistakes can still sneak through, we have developed a system that reduces the chances of that happening.
When I was in college, if a name was misspelled in one of my articles it was an automatic fail. It taught us the importance of proofreading our work. And the consequences if we didn’t.
Those are not the only items that need to be proofread. Social media is another area of communication that needs a second look before you post. Don’t just type a comment, add a hashtag and hit send. Take a minute to review and ensure that nothing is glaringly wrong because that error will be noted by every reader and commented on.
The Best Defense
Proofreading can also catch more than just grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. It can also help you restructure sentences and paragraphs. Or add something that you didn’t realize was missing.
When I finish a piece I like to walk away from it for a few minutes and then come back to it with a fresh pair of eyes. If I can set it aside for a day or two, that’s even better. The time away from the material allows me to see it anew and notice things that I may have missed. This especially helps if you have been struggling to find the right angle.
A Helping Hand
Often it’s a good idea to get an extra pair of eyes to have a look at your material. No matter how many times we read something, our eyes can play tricks on us. We can read the same sentence a hundred times and still miss an obvious error.
Dooley PR & Marketing understands the importance of proofreading. We have a proofreading process (we call it the “Proofread Gang”) which helps catch typos or grammatical errors the author may have missed. Every piece of copy in our office goes through the Proofread Gang before it goes to our client for approval or out for publication.
Having a second or even third person look at our stuff before we publish does a few things. First, we work harder to ensure our first drafts are rock solid because we know we’re going to be peer reviewed. Second, it catches errors or just clumsy turns of phrase. Third, when we’re asked to edit other people’s stuff, it makes us better writers ourselves. Fourth, it protects us individually and as a team from sending something that isn’t quite ready for prime time.
A ‘Keep Calm’ mug sits on my desk. It reminds me to ‘Keep Clam and Proofread’. It is a daily reminder of the importance of proofreading.
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Our Winnipeg office is located on Treaty 1 Territory, the original lands of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Anishininiimowin (Oji-Cree) and Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (Seven Council Fires) peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation. We acknowledge the harms and mistakes of the past and we seek to move forward in partnership with Indigenous communities in a spirit of respect, reconciliation and collaboration.