I regularly receive emails that end with the slogan "Please consider the environment before printing this message." Many people, including me, are concerned about wasting resources.
Yet I've found that it's much more effective to proofread a document from a printed page than from a screen. When I proofread an important piece on the screen only, I often miss errors.
I recently updated a business writing course flyer because a class has evolved. The online class that used to be Email Intelligence is now How to Write Email That Gets Results. I proofread the revised flyer at least twice on the screen and was ready to upload it to my website. But a little voice told me to print the flyer and proofread it one more time–because it is so important that the flyer not contain mistakes.
I was shocked to find a bunch of mistakes when I reviewed the printed pages:
- Time: 10 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. Pacific Time (It's a 90-minute class plus Q&A, not 13+ hours.)
- Date: 3-16-1 (The final 1 should have been 11.)
- Target Audience: Anyone who wants to gets positive, consistent results with email.
- Get specific recommendations on how to gets results with your email.
- Register for the January 25 class today. (It was a March 16 class.)
All the errors involved text I had changed, of course. You know, those nasty gremlins that sneak into revised copy and hide there.
For another piece of writing I proofread on the screen, I found myself stuck with this error on a cover sheet on my way to a client meeting: February. 2, 2011.
Where did that erroneous period come from? Here's where: Just before printing the document, I had decided to spell out February rather than use the abbrevation Feb.–with the period.
I am all for preserving natural resources and saving money. But before I send an important message into the world, I am going to print and proofread it.
What is your view?