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February 03, 2020


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Anita Roberts

I'm eco-conscious, but I would absolutely reprint the six pages. Your written proposal is your client's first impression of your work product. If you present something that looks unprofessional and demonstrates that a detail like their name is an afterthought right out of the gate, that doesn't bode well for the quality of the work you'll deliver.


I would re-print the pages! Not everyone shares the same level of environmental consciousness. Saving paper when presenting to coworkers might be a reasonable option, but presenting to a client with handwritten corrections looks tacky!


I hope the ink in her pen was sustainably sourced.

George Raymond

Did the document have to be on paper to begin with? Nowadays, printing a document for everyone at a meeting seems a bit old-fashioned and conspicuously non-green. Another solution is to e-mail the document so participants can read it in advance. They can print it if they wish or refer to it on their laptops. A PowerPoint summary may be more effective for the meeting. In the PowerPoint, you can fix typos until the last minute.


I would not print at all. First, I would present on a big screen to give the participants the opportunity to fully concentrate on the speaker. Often the participants already read the next slide or even the one after. That does not give the opportunity to point the attention to the topics the speaker would like to.

Notes could be made on 2 sheets of blank paper which should be available.

When the presentation has been finished, I would send it eMail.
Even if I like to be independent from electronic devices, nowadays it is a favour that it could be shared or corrected several times without wasting paper.


Absolutely correct and reprint ! The six copies with the potential client name misspelled can be recycled. I am surprised that this even happened! First impressions are critical.

Peter Schreiner

I would accept the penned correction decisively provided that an explanation follows. As an executive member of upper-management, I admire the rarity of steadfast commitment. Loyalty and courage to stand up for something greater than ourselves, our pomposities, even void of any measurable environmental consequence, is a rarity and likely mirrored in other aspects of her life. Personal and business alike. I would offer her employment. That said, were it me, I would have reprinted.


I would 100% reprint. I can’t imagine finding errors ahead of time, having plenty of opportunity to correct them, and choosing not to do so. It would be unacceptable to me to present my work to a new client knowing it was not the best possible work I could show.

As a client receiving a presentation by a new firm, I would not be happy about receiving a presentation with my name misspelled, and the decision to cross out and write the correction in ink rather than reprinting would annoy me even further. I think I would rather see it uncorrected and assume the typo had slipped through the cracks (although it would definitely give me a negative impression) than see that someone caught the typo and declined to correct it with a clean copy.

I understand some people are intensely concerned about the environment, but deliberately choosing to make a poor impression on a client rather than reprint six sheets of paper seems lazy and foolish, showing poor judgment. As the client in that situation I’d start looking around for other evidence of poor judgment and misplaced priorities.


(I do agree with the folks mentioning that emailing paperwork and notes about presentations is probably preferable these days and even more environmentally friendly than refusing to reprint pages with errors.)


ONLY if the client were some sort of environmental firm would I mark up the already printed copy to correct the mistake. But then, with an environmental firm, I would probably take Hilde's approach and not print at all. I'd correct the error in my program, give the presentation and send a digital file after the fact.

Cheryl Nichols

I would reprint the page for all copies...you don't get a 2nd chance at a first impression...and if I were the client, why would I go with a company that cannot even spell my name correctly?


I am totally with Stephanie on this! Not only does it look shoddy, it bodes poorly for the rest of the presentation and would likely leave a bad taste in my mouth, even if that was the only error in the presentation. If it had been sprinkled throughout the presentation, I could understand the woman's reticence to reprint six copies, but it wasn't - it was six pieces of paper balanced against the first impression the company was getting of their work. I would admire her honesty, but still wouldn't trust that I was going to get good, accurate work out of the firm.

Ann Graham

Reprint page one only. I usually reuse the unused printed pages for scratch paper.

Business Writing Blog

Thank you for commenting, Anita, Michele, Nick, George, Hilde, Heidi, Peter, Stephanie, Laura, Cheryl, Katherine, and Ann. I appreciate your input! Please read my update to the original post.

Anita, agreed! The fact that it's a first meeting and an error in the client's name is a decisive factor.

Michele, I agree. An audience of coworkers would accept this kind of error corrected by hand.

Nick, yes--we have to look at all the factors. Thanks for the smile.

George, you make great points. I asked my friend about your suggestion, and I included her thinking in the update above.

Hilde, good input! I followed up with my friend, who wanted the meeting to have a different feeling from what you suggest. Please read the update to the blog post.

Heidi, I was surprised too. That's why I urged my friend to rethink her decision, and she agreed.

Peter, thanks so much for addressing both your appreciation of my friend's choice and your opposite decision. If you read the update above, you will see that she changed her mind in response to my conventional advice.

Stephanie, thank you so much for your detailed comment. I appreciate your perspective as the client.

Laura, thanks for weighing in on the topic. Most people agree with you.

Cheryl, I like your important reminder: "You don't get a 2nd chance at a first impression."

Katherine, thank you for the important point about the error reducing your trust in the consultant's work. Those six rescued pages would cost a lot in client confidence.

Ann, good point. I tried to make this point with my friend, but her page was two-sided and filled with information. Recycling was the best she could do.


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