This post from our freelance guest blogger - Dana Petersen:
Like me, I'm sure you have received your share of e-mail mistakes. These errors can grab your attention and obscure the author's intended message. A recent example from my inbox used the word "seam" instead of "seem". It's a harmless misspelling, but also one I haven't forgotten.
Nobody is perfect, but professionalism and proofreading are both marketable skills. While many typos are innocuous, others may be embarrassing or even offensive. One method for eliminating common mistakes is slowly reading the message aloud. Focusing on each sentence allows the reader to quickly identify problems a spell checker may overlook, such as missing words or punctuation.
Larger projects including specialized documents, presentations or lengthy e-mails may seem overwhelming. Take a break and refresh your inbox because help may be just a click away. Is there a colleague or supervisor that rarely makes an e-mail error? Not only is that person probably a good proofreader, but he or she may even enjoy proofreading. Don't be afraid to mention that you noticed your co-worker's exceptional e-mails when making your pitch for some proofreading assistance.
As business communication continues to develop, so do our writing tools. It may sound silly, even obvious, but proofreading is a skill that never goes out of style. In a perfect world, the messages we write would always be free of errors. In this imperfect modern age, proofreading skills are not easily duplicated by technology. Before you hit send, ask yourself one simple question: are my seams showing?
*Dana Petersen is a graduate of Iowa State University with degrees in Marketing and Ag Business. Her versatile writing background includes news articles, technical writing, and observational humor. She currently works with agricultural exchange students at the Foundation for Worldwide International Student Exchange in west Tennessee. Contact her here if you'd like to learn more.
Published on: 13:04PM Aug 13, 2008