Never rely solely on a Spell-checker
By: Mike Harrison

Especially when making an *initial* contact, how we represent ourselves to prospective (or existing) clients says a lot about our credibility. So, here’s some advice for newbies and the established among us: Never, ever, rely only on a spell-checker before sending out letters and e-mail. A cute story of a previous experience will illustrate why...

An Account Representative I worked with back in the late 90s came into the office one day, proud of himself for having composed his first word processed letter, for which he was careful to use the spell-checker. The letter, to a prospective client, was well written and succinct. However, he shot himself in the foot in the very last sentence:

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ball me.

Spell-checkers catch spelling errors. Ball was spelled correctly. The Microsoft Word spell-checker is also capable of checking grammar (based on user-implemented variables). But NOTHING can take the place of PROOFREADING.

Its great when you’ve just come across a lead and want to respond to it right away. Who wouldn’t? BUT... resist the temptation to quickly type your letter or e-mail and send it before you check it closely. As a former typesetter and proofreader, THE #1 RULE in typography is that the person who types the piece must never proofread it themselves, because they are too apt to miss mistakes. That’s why there are proofreaders. But we work for ourselves and don’t employ proofreaders. So the best thing to do is save the letter or e-mail, and come back to it a few hours later, and read it as if you were the recipient. Very carefully.

Good impressions can go a long way toward developing - and maintaining - solid relationships. .



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