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My Latest Mistake

Yesterday I discovered another mistake I had made, and I decided to turn it into a piece of advice for you. Isn’t that what life is all about–turning our mistakes into something positive?

Here is the situation: Last week I completed a proposal for a potential new client for classes in business writing. I was very pleased with the proposal. It was priced well, on target in terms of what the client needed, and expressed clearly and concisely. I viewed the proposal as a job well done.

Yesterday another potential client asked for a proposal. I got out last week’s document to use as a model. That is when I noticed the mistake. It was a spelling error in the file name of the document! Much to my chagrin (embarrassment), the file name of the Word document was:

Proposal for Writing Class from Syntax Trianing

Yikes! Trianing! But I thought I had created an autocorrect rule for the typographical error “trianing” that automatically changed it to training. What had gone wrong?

What had gone wrong is this: the autocorrect and spellcheck features do not apply to the file names of documents.

Now I will add another item to my proofreading checklist: the name of the file.

Learn from my mistake! I know I certainly did.


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By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English.