Take Time to Proofread Emails

Looking to make a good impression with a new client? Or maybe you just want to send a clear message to a colleague.

Good communication skills are a key component in any business correspondence. The last step before hitting the send button on your email should be to review what you just wrote.

Put yourself in the seat of the person who will be reading your message and check the tone. Have you addressed their needs or concerns? Think of the one or two salient points you wish to convey. Are those prominently featured at the top of your message?

Here are few more suggestions for applying that finishing touch:

  • Don’t trust the spell checker. Word processing programs are not infallible, and sometimes they can miss a word that is spelled correctly but doesn’t fit in the context of a sentence. If you’re not sure, check the word in a dictionary.
  • Know your own stumbling blocks. Are there some words you know you have a hard time spelling or using correctly? Keep an eye out for them.
  • Double-check dates on a calendar. Even if you’re just setting up a meeting, pull out your calendar and check that the day of the week matches the date.

Rochester freelance writer Chris Swingle offers these additional suggestions:

  • Print it. You will spot mistakes on paper that you don’t see on the screen.
  • Read it aloud. Hearing your words is different from seeing them.
  • Listen to your gut. Don’t ignore that feeling of hesitation about something. If you think to yourself, “That’s how he spells his name, right?” — imagine alarm bells clanging. Go check the spelling.

Taking a few extra minutes to review what you wrote can improve communication, head off misunderstandings and avoid a costly or embarrassing typo.

(Published in the Democrat and Chronicle’s “Women at Work” column; Tuesday, November 27, 2012.)

This entry was posted in Synchronicity: Musings on Words, Music, and the Arts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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