Proofreading Tips (Or How to Not Turn Off Your Reader)
Let’s be honest – audiences can be challenging, especially when they pick up on a mistake in a book (or article or blog post). The presence of a mistake can lead to a lack of trust in the writer and a lack of trust in the information being presented.
Writers (and reviewers) should take note of these proofreading tips:
- Review the document backwards – Because a writer may already be overly familiar with a document (having spent time researching and writing it), reviewing it in reverse order can sometimes help the brain slow down and notice errors more easily.
- Look at the printed document – When the document is taken away from a computer screen, errors can be more glaring. Print out the document to see if anything needs to be adjusted and to see the document as a user will see it (if you are delivering printed materials).
- Read the document aloud – The writer’s brain often subconsciously fills in the ‘right’ words when reading something. By reading the material aloud, errors in style and word choice are easier to hear/find. This is especially helpful for longer sentences that may not be identified as a problem when reading.
- Get an outside perspective – With more than one person reviewing a document, it becomes easier for the document’s errors to be found, corrected, and addressed. A ‘second set of eyes’ is an asset to any writer.
Everyone makes mistakes. But those mistakes don’t have to end up in the final copy that users see. Or, at least, they shouldn’t.
Do you have some proofreading tips you’d like to share? Please leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you.