This week my wife got a very handsome direct mail piece from a local bank.
It had a typo.
Boy, have I been there. I’ve made that same mistake.
Here are a couple proofreading tips for you.
1. Don’t let the writer proof his or her own work.
Writers see things as they should be … writers hear words they may have left off the page … writers put proper pacing on perhaps awkwardly written lines.
A second (and possibly third and fourth and fifth – particularly when tens of thousands of dollars are on the line) person with no hint of the writer’s melody should be able to catch these things immediately without the burden of the writer’s curse of knowledge.
2. Read the work aloud.
Our brains are way smarter than our mouths. Talk radio proves this every day. Our brains can fill in blanks and duct tape over mistakes. Our mouths don’t do that. Our mouths will usually catch the mistakes and awkwardness.
First, read this sentence silently … then read it again aloud:
Make a fast break in today or visit online at ourwebsite.com! Because as long Mizzou Basketball is in the NCAA tournament, the Fastest $40 is at Puckleschwartz National Bank.
Reading things aloud – and having others do the same – can easily help prevent mistakes and awkward sentences.
Take it from someone who’s made dozens mistakes and written more than my fair share of awkward sentences.
Any other proofreading tips? I’d love to hear yours in the comments below.