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The 5 Cs of Communications: Tip 6 - Proofreading

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Many of us need to communicate in some capacity in our professional lives. Sometimes it's oral, and sometimes it will show up in print or online. Regardless, we can always improve our efforts.

Volumes have been written on the subject of communications, and there is only so much that can be said in a blog.
This is #6, the final in a series of simple tips that can be applied to help you grow in your ability to write or speak.

COMMUNICATIONS TIP #6 - Don't Forget to Proofread!

We’re at the end of our series of Simple Tips for Communications, and we’ll finish by talking about Proofreading.

In a Hurry

It’s all too easy to get in a hurry and fail to check our work. Even when we check it, we can get it wrong. I once had a boss who insisted, “You can’t make the same error twice when you're checking the math on your sales figures. It's just not possible.” Well, I proved that he was mistaken. I found that my mind could play the same trick on me over and over again. Something similar can happen when we check our own written communications. We know what we meant to say, so we can miss little typos or grammatical goofs here and there.


I think we’ve all figured out that spell checkers are great, but they don’t find all of our mistakes. Simply looking for the squiggly lines doesn’t cut it. Some resulting bloopers are funny, like when the church bulletin says, “Ushers will eat latecomers.” We all want to do a good job in our professional communications, so it’s important to get it right. Sometimes it’s mission critical.

Another Set of Eyes

Although someone else isn’t always available to help, it makes a lot of sense to get the use of another set of eyes whenever we can. I often like to solicit my wife’s assistance, and she does a good job of finding my little blunders.

Sometimes people fail to check web addresses and hyperlinks. No one likes broken or incorrect links, so this area requires attention too. And here’s a tip: If you’re working with a long URL, you can use a shortener like, which gives you a customizing option.

I want to leave you with something funny.

Have you ever wondered about instructions that come with products that were obviously manufactured in foreign lands? I’ve never been able to figure out why they don’t get a true English speaker to proofread the translation. This product description that I found online is a real hoot. It’s for a tool used on auto brakes.

Lock Technology (LT 770) Dual Piston Brake Press: The LT-770 presses in dual brake pistons as intimately as undivided pistons brake calipers. Universal applications programme against to the highest degree cars, short and sonorous trucks. Easy undivided patch performance, eliminates nuts and bolts to get together and dismantle on brake assemblies.

What is a short and sonorous truck, anyway?

Communications Tip 1: Context
Communications Tip 2: Clarity
Communications Tip 3: Be Concise
Communications Tip 4: Be Complete
Communications Tip 5: Be Compelling
Communications Tip 6: Proofread

Steve Smart works with busy entrepreneurs who want to improve their marketing efforts. Check out the other posts on communications tips.

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