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Check presentation

I often mention checking the details, expression and grammar of your business communications. It is also very important to check the presentation as well as that is one of the first things people notice before they even read a word.

Checking means in the final form as well as in drafts, too.

I know I have prepared something carefully on my computer, checked everything carefully and then uploaded it the internet to find it does not present properly live. Sometimes it was something simple like a bad image reference, but other times I couldn’t find a fault, only a solution!

This is why good printers and designers will provide you with proofs before printing starts, just to be sure nothing has moved or changed colour during the preparation process. When checking proofs, you have to be very focused and detail orientated.

I followed a link to a website recently. The entire site was a blog (and we’ll leave having a blog as your business website for another discussion) and I read through a few pages of it. One page was an article listing 10 points that literally looked like:

  1. 1. this is our first point
  2. 2. and our second point…
  3. 3. and so on…
    11. closing paragraph one
    12. closing paragraph two

To give her the benefit of the doubt, I assume she had the article written elsewhere with one set of numbers, added it to her blog and selected numbered list again. Human error, probably; carelessness to not check the final result, definitely.

What is possibly worse are the sites you visit to find little red crosses instead of images, even when you visit again months later. It certainly gives the impression that they never look at their own site or pay attention to details – which is probably not a good impression to give prospective clients.

In my next post, I will cover some of the details I always check for in a final presentation draft.

Check details – and check again

Let’s face it not everyone will notice or care about a couple of small spelling or grammatical mistakes. But getting the details correct is absolutely critical.

Make sure you go back and check details in your work – whether it is something you have written, a professional wrote for you or a graphic designer has worked on for you. Ideally, get someone else to check your document just for details.

If in doubt at how easy it can be to make such mistakes, here are some real life examples…

  1. A marketing flyer for a local shopping strip where each shop added their ad looked great except for one little detail – they spelt the name of the suburb incorrectly! And I know because I saw the flyer in circulation so it went out without being corrected.
  2. A course registration form included a second page with the following under the header:
    Invoice Date: 18 December 2008

    Event: Course Name, Melbourne – 20 February 2008
    Obviously, prompt payment isn’t an issue with these people!

  3. A business sent out invitations to an event that cost them a lot of money to arrange. The invitations were sent out stating a day and date that didn’t match so they risked many people not turning up.
  4. 500 business cards were printed with the wrong mobile phone number because no one checked the original source. Luckily, the problem was noticed before any cards were given out.
  5. 100,000 letterhead were printed before anyone realised the disclaimer mentioned another (related) company name. Could you afford this sort of reprint?
  6. a book on small business quoted someone but used the wrong first name for her, which put her offside and made it hard for readers to research that woman
  7. the male CEO of a Melbourne company was named in a photo in an industry magazine – however, the photo was a woman and the article was not even related to the CEO or his company.

So while you won’t be alone with such mistakes, your credibility is better if you take the time to make sure details are present and correct. The cost of not checking can be huge.