Have you ever seen someone give a presentation full of spelling errors? I don’t know about you, but this really drives me crazy! I don’t care how excellent the presentation is–if their accompanying slides are full of misspelled words, that says one of three things to me:
- The person is careless or they put the presentation together last minute (both are bad messages to send)
- English is not the person’s first language (forgivable, but they should still have had an expert/native English speaker proofread their slides)
- The person is being ironic or trying to test the audience’s attention levels (possible but unlikely, especially in matters of spelling)
If you’re giving an important presentation, preparing an important document, or even sending a cold email to someone you want to connect with, you don’t want your credibility or intelligence to be in doubt. Spelling errors and other typos harm this credibility more than anything.
I get emails like the following one all the time:
I usually read these just for entertainment (and I save some of them for occasions such as these), but I’m sure you can guess where they go after that.
The thing that really irks me about spelling errors is that they are easy to avoid. If you send an email full of spelling and capitalization errors, all it means is that you couldn’t be bothered for maybe thirty seconds to read through the email and make the changes that spell-check and grammar-check suggest. You can and should do better than that.
Spell-Check Isn’t Enough
Of course, spell-check isn’t always enough. While it will catch misspellings, it doesn’t check whether you used a word correctly. I recommend that you read through your document several times in addition to running spell-check and having someone you trust proofread your work. You can also use a tool such as a Grammarly, which will catch subtle errors related usage.
In my upcoming e-book, Ten Steps to Excellent Writing, I go into more detail about common spelling mistakes and how to avoid them, as well as giving you more specific tips on proofreading. If you want to receive the book when it comes out on April 13, please enter your email to subscribe below:
If you have any questions about grammar, writing, or the book, don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.