"The way we do anything is the way we do everything"
~Martha Beck

Errors. Mistakes. Using the wrong ‘there’. Misplaced decimal points. Misspelled names. Those little gaffes have the power to make you blush with shame and cringe at the memory, even years after the fact.

 
A Slayer personally took this photo in February. She was not going to a “raggae” fest.

A Slayer personally took this photo in February. She was not going to a “raggae” fest.

 

Typos, poor usage and incorrect spelling may all seem like small things. It may seem nitpicky and pointless to go over each individual letter of your written work - you just want to get the word out and fast!

The reality, however, is that you won’t get that interview if there are typos in your resume. You won’t get that promotion if your boss can’t trust you to send professional emails. And you certainly won’t win that client if they get the sense that you don’t have sufficient attention to detail.

The worst part? They’ll probably never tell you why.

Unfortunately, nobody cares that you were up late with too much work and unreasonable deadlines. They don’t know. That information doesn’t arrive with your output - and you wouldn’t want it to.

What they do care about, and what they understand is the message you are sending, which is this:

“This wasn’t important enough for me to check thoroughly.”

and by extension,

YOU are not important enough for me to double check what I send you.”

Ouch.

 
You could be internet famous, like this couple who apparently offered small children as a menu item at their wedding.

You could be internet famous, like this couple who apparently offered small children as a menu item at their wedding.

 

How to keep the little things from turning into big things

  • Know your weaknesses. You can’t fix what you’re not aware of. Ask someone you work with to tell you the honest truth. Or ask us. (Of course we do that!).
     
  • If you struggle with dyslexia, ADD, or a learning disability, make sure you’ve got the systems and support to keep these challenges from getting in your way.
     
  • Use the tools. Spell check exists: use it*.

*But don’t rely on it entirely. Spell check is not a grammar whiz, and can trip on homonyms, homophones, homographs, and heteronyms.

  • Slow down, especially if you’re prone to making mistakes when you rush. Draft your email and save it. Go do something else. Read it again before you send it out.
     
  • Get another set of eyes. It is very difficult to proofread your own work. Once you’ve stared at the same page for several hours, the letters begin to swim. Get a proofreader and make them part of your regular process. All the cool kids do*.

*We’re pretending to be cool kids right now. Just go with it.

 
Maybe that will cover the tow charge?

Maybe that will cover the tow charge?

 

Nobody’s perfect. We’re human and mistakes happen. But don’t allow that to become an excuse for putting out terrible work. Professionalism is a message you send every day, with every interaction. We want you to be famous for the right reasons, and not because you’ve just accused Rachael Ray of cannibalism…