You have spent hours preparing a document for presentation. Your PowerPoint slides are all ready. You’ve submitted all the documents you’ve been asked to submit. You know exactly what you’re going to say. When you go through your material, you discover a howling typo. Ah, it’ll be grand, you think. They’re not going to turn down your business just because of a little spelling mistake.
No, they can’t. But you don’t want to give them any reason to look unfavourably on you. It’s like when someone’s giving a presentation and they have a stain on their shirt. It starts off as a small thing, but it soon becomes all you can see.
Do you want a misspelled word or rogue apostrophe to be all people see about your business?
The effect of good editing is invisible. You can’t say that you’ll increase your sales by 20% if you spell every word in your document correctly. And there are plenty of customers or clients who won’t even notice a typo or rogue apostrophe. But there are also plenty who will. Good editing enhances your professional image. If makes your content easy to look at and easy to read. It shows that you pay attention to detail, which builds trust.
More than that, good editing makes it easier for customers and clients to understand your message. Even a stray comma can cause a customer to interpret a different meaning from your words than you intended. After all, Irish patriot Roger Casement was hung because of a misplaced comma. If your content is precise and error free, there will be no barrier to customers and clients getting your point and ultimately buying from you.
Here are some answers to the most common editing dilemmas that we face.
- Q. How do I cut down my content without losing the substance of what I want to say? There are a few handy ways. Chances are, you’ve repeated yourself more than once. Get rid of all repetitions, except the ones that convey your message in the shortest number of words. If your sentences are long, chop them down or divide them in half. For example, quotes are often full of dead wood, so you can streamline those.
- Q. I don’t have enough material, how can I bulk it up? This is a harder problem to resolve, but there are ways around it. Chances are, you didn’t add certain content, because you didn’t think it was relevant. Now’s the time to put it in. Or you can expand on points you’ve already made with case studies or linked articles.
- Q. How do I weed out typos? There are three main ways. Read it out loud, read it backwards and step back. Reading your work out loud helps you to spot clunky and ambiguous sentences as well as typos. Reading it backwards breaks your familiarity with the words and forces you to examine each one. And stepping back means giving your mind a break, so that when you come back to your work, your eyes will be fresh and you’ll spot errors.