We young professionals communicate via text numerous times each day, perhaps for some even more than verbally. From quick texts to multi-paged documents, communicating textually is a big part of our modern working world. Thankfully, transmitting information this way has its many benefits, one of the biggest being that we can look over our message, seek out errors, and make changes before sending it off into the world. So why then are so many young professionals still not editing their work? Here are some important reminders and helpful tips about taking the time to really edit your work.
It represents you
Whether it’s a tweet to your followers, an email to your buddy, or an end-of-year report to your company vice-president, whatever you send out into the world is a representation of you. If you want to be perceived as capable, reliable, and detail-oriented, your written words can help portray that image. Taking the time to correct simple grammar and spelling mistakes in every type of written communication you create leaves no opportunity for the receiving party to question your abilities. Failing or not bothering to catch errors can leave others with the possible impression that you didn’t care about or respect them enough to take the time to edit. Even worse, sending out flawed written work could also portray you as someone unable to use commas properly or unable to choose the correct “there, ”“you’re,” or “too.” One of the easiest ways to leave a questionable impression of yourself on prospective clients or employers, and thus put the competition in a better light, is to portray yourself as less educated, capable, or dedicated through unedited textual communication. Mastering the final once-over can help ensure that any doubts about your abilities never enter the minds of your readers, whoever they may be
It’s a record of you
As discussed in a past Notable article, whatever you communicate in text format has the potential of becoming permanent record. Emails can be printed and memos can be shared; nearly anything you write and send off into the cyber world could be potentially forever linked back to you. Editing gives you the chance to stop and take a moment to assess if what you are sending clearly and accurately represents you and your message. Apart from grammar and spelling, tone and clarity are also important factors in the editing process. Without the features of voice and facial expressions, the subjective nature of words can make clear text-talk challenging. When firing off texts or emails in the heat of the moment, or creating copy or reports on a bad day, taking the time to edit allows you to remove emotion, evaluate tone and word choices, and change anything that you may not want falsely representing you, perhaps for years to come.
Easy editing tips
In the bustle of a busy workday, many YPs claim to simply not have the time to properly edit their work. So we have come up with a few handy tricks to help you catch those typos and tangents without needing that fine-toothed comb:
– Change the font: if you find that your eyes often read over a paragraph ten times without ever catching the errors your boss always seems to notice later, try changing the font. Your mind can get very used to reading your words in a particular font and can continually miss certain mistakes. Changing the font can make invisible mistakes instantly appear.
– Leave it for an hour: As mentioned above, our minds can get very used to reading our own work over and over and can actually go on a type of auto-pilot. Leaving that important document for an hour or more to go read, write, or do something else can help refresh the mind. Allowing your mind to take a break and then return to your writing allows you to see your work as if it were new again, making mistakes easier to spot.
– Request another set of eyes: This tried-and-true method of editing is also known as proofreading. Asking a trusted colleague, friend, spouse, or our favourite – the all-knowing parent – to read over our work offers a unique perspective beyond just errors. Having another person read over your work before sending it off can help with that important feature of tone. You may think that what you are saying comes off a certain way, but another person has the ability to confirm or deny that for you.