As the old saying goes ‘you never get a second chance to make a great first impression’.
With more and more business being conducted remotely through email and over the internet, your written words are often all that the other person has, from which to form that first impression.
In all the above situations your words are all that people have to judge you on. The content is important but often, even small mistakes will mean that the person has already formed an impression before they have fully seen the value of what you're writing about. Which is why the importance of proofreading your documents can not be stated enough.
The written language used to package your information is very important. You're always in completion with someone. If they produce error free writing and you don’t – they'll win (whatever it is).
These small mistakes tell the reader you can’t spell or write properly; you don’t care enough to spell or write properly; you don’t care about details; or you're just not very careful. These are all very bad first impressions to make on somebody.
So proofread and copyedit anything you write before you submit it, publish it or send it to anyone.
If you can’t proofread or don’t know how to proofread see the articles about proofreading techniques and the proofreading checklist. Proofread any document you write, even emails and memos. These are short but there is still plenty of space for you to make a mistake and leave a bad impression on the reader.
By proofreading and finding all the mistakes you'll look like a much better and more professional person. If there are no mistakes left in your document your readers will be able to focus on the contents.
As a non-fiction writer your message or content is more important than the words used. Leave the fancy language to the fiction writers. Concentrate on clear, concise and correct language so that your readers will go away saying, “I agree with everything they said”. Rather than, “Their writing was useless, I now need to look somewhere else; I couldn’t understand what they were trying to say”.
The higher quality or level your service, business, website or academic study is, the higher quality or level your readers will expect in all aspects, including the presentation (your language).
The importance of proofreading is that it enables your content to speak for itself.
Let your content speak for you, proofread, so that your mistakes don’t drown it out.
By Jolyon Dodgson, copyright © 2011-2013
Proofreading and writing help for excellent first impressions.