Updated: Jul 2
Weather or not you prooffread you’re articles says a lot about how you view those who will read them. In four words, it says “I just don’t care.” But is that realy what you want to say to your readers and clients? That you dont care that they have to sift through your use of bad grammar and spelling errors to make sense of what your saying?
If you want to continue reading, congratulations! Apparently, my use of poor spelling, grammar and punctuation has not scared you. Or perhaps, you kept reading because you simply could not believe what you were reading on an editor's page. Well, prank over. Have a good laugh and continue reading, please.
As I was saying earlier, whether or not you proofread your content says a lot about how you view your readers. It sends a message you’re most likely not trying to send and expresses a lack of professionalism and care. That's the last image you want to portray as a business owner.
So, the next time you hit the “send” or “publish” button, print out a copy of what you have written and read it out aloud to yourself. This will help you to spot those mistakes you wouldn’t have otherwise spotted while reading it on the screen. I’m not sure what it is, but I’m able to spot errors better on a print-out than on a computer screen. Somehow, my eyes just seem to be trained to seek out errors on paper so that I can see where I have used “cause” when I meant to use its correct form “course,” or vice versa.
Reading your paper aloud makes things clearer, and helps you analyze whether the reading flows or needs a few paragraphs re-structured. Because people are prone to write the way they speak, a free flow of words is not always the best way to present a written piece of correspondence. There must be a difference between the way we speak and the way we write.
Proofreading will also help you to spot errors in punctuation. Are you missing commas, periods, or closed parentheses? Punctuation can be the difference between “Rachel Ray finds inspiration in cooking her family and her dog” and “Rachel Ray finds inspiration in cooking, her family, and her dog.” The first sentence is what appeared on a photoshopped cover of an issue of Tails Magazine (explanation of photoshopped cover). Or picture this snafu made by Goodwill on one of their billboards, which read: “Thank You! Your donation just helped someone. get a job. Amazing.” Versus this one: “Thank you! Your donation just helped someone get a job. Amazing.” Or, this first sentence error in an article I should have been proud of, but instead became something for me to hide. It was one of my first pieces for a mainstream publication and a part of my writing portfolio, but I don't mention it because of that missing "y" in the first sentence. Obviously, as you can see, proofreading can mean the difference between earning the respect of your readers and their ridicule.
In order to send the right message as a business owner, you must ALWAYS read through your written work before hitting the “send” “print” or “publish” button, because whether we wish to acknowledge it or not, our readers are judging us based on what they read from us. (Just as I am sure most of you would have thought I was a joke of an editor if the errors running through that first paragraph, run through the rest of this article.) A few minutes to proofread will save you a great deal of embarrassment later. So please, please, please, proofread your work before you send it out. Or, if you are too tired to do so, or you simply need help, hire a proofreader to do it for you.