04/08/2006

friday, 4 august of 2006


Migalhas International

Law Firm Marketing

Typing mistakes really hurt credibility

I write a lot. In fact, most of my day is spent typing, whether I'm writing marketing materials for clients or responding to lawyers' e-mails.

And no matter how many spell checkers I use -- no matter how much I proofread -- I never seem to catch them all:

TYPOS!

The bane of my existence.

And when they come out of your office, they hurt you in many ways.

They give the impression that you're careless. Or that you don't pay attention to detail. Or that the people you hire -- who are supposed to prevent such things -- aren't doing their jobs. And so on.

Back when I was a kid, when I saw something from my dad's lawyer's office, it was always the best of its kind. Lawyers always had the most expensive typewriters, the blackest ribbons, the most elegant paper. A lawyer's document was where I expected to see perfection.

Sadly, today, that's no longer true. Several years ago my business lawyer sent me a legal document so full of typos that I was convinced my lawyer never actually read it. It was disgraceful. I concluded my lawyer was so busy with big clients that he didn't have time for me. So I changed lawyers.

I have heard lawyers explain that sending draft documents -- before mistakes are corrected -- is one way of saving the client money. The premise is to get the substance of the document the way the client wants it and then correct the mistakes.

This may sound like a good idea in theory, but in practice, when your client sees even a draft document full of mistakes, it makes a bad impression. Even if your client knows the mistakes are his ticket to a lower fee, it makes a bad impression. Typos make a bad impression, period. Regardless of how you justify them.

No question, typos can be hard to find. From experience, I've learned that typos are often in the largest type on the page. I spend so much time proofreading the small print, I occasionally miss the typo in the headline.

In a recent NEWSWEEK, the table of contents referred to a story about long-time actor Buddy Ebsen. But in the table of contents, his name was spelled Epson, like the company that makes computer printers.

We're all in such a hurry, and under such pressure, that typos often slip past. But they shouldn't.

Have you ever hired a person who misspelled words on his or her resume? What conclusions did you draw about that person?

Certainly, all you can do is your best. But don't underestimate the negatives attached to typos. If you think there no big deal, your ded rong.

© Trey Ryder

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