Mark was a senior consultant who’d had a great idea to boost what his organisation could offer by partnering with another. He’d done some initial research and was fairly sure the other organisation could be a great fit. He was just waiting for Tim’s report to land in his inbox.
But the stakes were high.
He’d convinced others. The Board was potentially considering the idea. It could mean great things for the organisation, but also for him. But it was definitely a risk.
After refreshing his inbox, he receives the report.
There’s an error on the first page. He sees he’s been listed as ‘Principle’ rather than ‘Principal’ Consultant. No biggie, thinks Mark. He’s human. I can fix that. After all, he thinks, I’m not engaging Tim for his grammar but for his ideas.
But still, something doesn’t feel quite right…
As he continues scanning the report, his heart sinks.
There are lots of errors. And not just little things like using ‘who’ instead of ‘whom’. Things he knows don’t really matter in the greater scheme of things.
They’re big things. Names of clients and programs misspelled. Dates and industry standards he knows aren’t right and that he’s going to have to fix. It’d be a lot of work.
On top of that, there are pages of text with really long paragraphs and no subheadings, making it really hard to read. Where there is a heading, the ideas coming after it don’t seem to match. There’s no logical flow to the ideas. In fact, he’s having trouble working out what the main ideas actually are.
Now, Mark’s a realistic guy.
He doesn’t expect Hemingway, but some of the sentences are so wordy he has to read them three times and still has no idea what they’re trying to say. It’s starting to get annoying. It’s wasting his time. Big time.
Mark knows he can’t present the report like this, and he starts to doubt Tim’s competency. After all, he thinks, if he can’t get the fundamentals right at this stage, what headaches is he going to cause me down the track? What are our clients going to think?
He gets up from his desk to go grab a coffee and wonder what to do from here.
Don’t let this be your client’s experience with you.
Look, the fact you’re reading this tells me that you probably wouldn’t make the sorts of errors Tim did. But still.
When it comes to your important documents, you still want to have the peace of mind that what you’re putting out there is error-free, concise and clear. You want to ensure it’s enhancing rather than potentially damaging your reputation or credibility.
Because you want your readers smiling, nodding, and picking up the phone to ask, ‘When do we start?’. Not giving them a reason to let you know that maybe a collaboration going forward isn’t the best idea.
Got an important document you need proofread? Contact us and we’ll look after it.