Guest Post by John Marini
Let’s face it, no one likes to have their mistakes pointed out. But, if you want your message to be received, it’s critical you turn to someone who can spot your faults. I’m not talking about brown shoes with black pants; I’m talking about the value of proofreading. Grammatical mistakes and typos in the communications industry are an easy way to lose credibility very fast.
Although my children have outgrown it, I keep a book that serves as a reminder of the importance of proofreading. “Rhyming ABC,” by Fisher Price, is a hardbound children’s book. Each letter is accompanied by rhyming words so preschoolers can begin associating words with those letters and in turn start learning the alphabet. Trouble is, the author did not know their own ABCs or something went wrong in the editing process because the copy I have skips over the letter O. There are no pages missing; there is just no mention of the letter O.
I wonder what kind of process the publisher had in place to catch such errors before that mistake was made and what policies may have been instituted as a result.
The adage about legal representation that says “He who represents himself has a fool for a client,” is akin to someone proofing their own work. It should only be done as a last resort, no matter how good you are.
I came face-to-face with numerous examples recently while helping my wife sort through cover letters and resumes for a job she was looking to fill. There were candidates that may have been qualified to do the job but were eliminated from consideration because grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes gave me the impression their attention to detail was lacking. Those mistakes could have easily been corrected if someone else looked at their work.
The only thing more important than writing something is having it properly edited.
So the next time you think you are sharp enough to proof your own writing, consider that Fisher Price book and all those job seekers who are still unemployed. I encourage you to put your pride aside and let someone else do it. After all, it’s better to say you’re right than oops.