For those of you who think you’re the Emily Post of proofreading, feel free to skip to the bottom for the PR proofreading challenge, but if you think you might need a little refresher, read on…
Depending on your line of work, level of fear for your middle school English teacher, or personality type, your experience with and commitment to proofreading and proper grammar may vary. I fall under the first category; I credit my first manager, who was by nature, a perfectionist (some would say sadist…not me, but some) when it came to reviewing documents. She would scan the first page, see a typo and hand it back saying, “This isn’t ready for me to look at.” I cursed her silently many times, but she was right.
Fast forward and here I am, finding myself spurting out “kids these days” every time I receive an email that even spell check can’t clarify or that requires a Google search to understand. Some of you might read this and tell me to relax, that it’s no big deal. Some will say that the rules of grammar have changed or that I sound like their cruel English teacher from sixth grade, but these people likely don’t work in PR.
It’s actually pretty simple: clients pay PR people to frequently communicate on their behalf. If I were to continually respond to their emails, or even worse, send out documents riddled with typos, I’d be willing to bet they wouldn’t “LOL” about it.
I’m not saying I’m a grammar guru, but the point is – I try. In an increasingly multi-tasking world where content is being developed at a rapid rate, maybe we need to put our smartphones down, push away from the computer and take a step back to consider (and proof) what we share with the world.
If you agree, before you take on the following proofreading challenge, brush up on your skills with these simple but important tips:
- Stop, Relax and Revisit: This may seem glaringly obvious, but try stepping back, doing something else and coming back to re-read with fresh eyes. Trust me, I know that’s hard to do, especially when working to meet deadlines, but consider the consequences of pressing send before proofing. Even 140 characters are worth a second look.
- Backtrack: A mentor once suggested that I proof a document by reading it backward. In all honesty, I thought I would never have enough patience to do that, until colleagues pointed out errors I had missed time and time again. So, I tried it, and guess what? It works.
- The Buddy System: At InkHouse, we do what some might call an old-fashioned process: we have at least one non-team member read our work before we send it. When someone is not familiar with the subject matter, they can more easily flag errors and inconsistencies. We also often read aloud with our “buddies” to make sure the text flows smoothly.
- Play Dumb: As a primarily tech-focused PR person, I find myself assuming that everyone understands all the acronyms I can recite by memory. This is a huge mistake. Write it out.
- Get Some Standards: Since some people can disagree on grammar rules, choose a standard and stick with it. We use AP style which is pretty standard in the industry. For those looking to brush up, check out Twelve Common Mistakes of AP Style from our resident Associated Press (AP) expert @savittorioso.
Bottom line: Proofreading is a skill. It can be learned and it’s important.
Now on to the challenge. There are more than 50 grammatical errors in this post – blatant crimes committed against the English language (according to AP style guide). How many can you find?
|Contact Info:Sally SomebodyPh: 555.549.4597Tw: @FeedSmackFeedSmack@FeedSmack.net
FeedSmack Secures $5 Dollors from Anonymous Funding Source
Imaginary Agency Focused on Giving Solicited Feedback Expands it’s Honesty Division
New York, MA, September 28, 2011 – FeedSmack, a fictitious company who sells honest opinions, announced today that it has raised $5 dollors to expand it’s Honesty Division. As part of this strategic growth initiative the company will expand the number of subject areas in which it now provides solicited feedback. The company has raised a total of $16 to-date. Feedsmack also announced the expansion of its Board of Directors with the addition of Chairman and CEO Sally Somebody. The board now has a total number of 1 member; resulting in a 100 percent increase in active board level participation.
“Its a great time to be in the honesty business. We are finding that so many people are looking for honest answers, but won’t ask because they are either to embarrassed or know that the people in there lifes will hold back their true opinions in fear of hunting a friends’ feelings,” said Sally Somebody, Chairman and CEO of FeedSmack. “That is the great thing about FeedSmack. We aren’t concerned about our customer’s feelings at all and I truly beileve that’s been the secret of our success and we will continue to work torwards that. We are hear to help almost everyone we meet including, random people we walk past, family member’s, co-workers, etc. ”
FeedSmack has been in business for over nine days and has served close to 15 non-paying customers to date. The company originially started with a focus on offering fashion and dating advice but has rapidly expanded
“I had know idea that a service like this exited until a Feedsmack agent over heard me asking a friend if she liked my outfit. My friend said it looked great, but thankfuly, the FeedSmack agent intervened. Apparently the
FeedSmack is a fictitious company that sells honest opinions to paying and nonpaying customers. The Company was founded in the Fall of 2011. Feedback currently has one employees and one board member. FeedSmack is not responsible for the affect that there feedback has on its customers, however they do recommend getting over it as a proactive next step with getting on with your life. FeedSmack is located on 1234 Somewhere Street, Boston, MA.