Editing business communications requires patience, concentration and a keen eye for detail. Even those who can write effective business communications do not necessarily edit just as well.
To help you determine if you edit business communications effectively we have put together the following questionnaire. Answer "yes" or "no" to each question and then total your "yes" answers. Match this number to the explanations at the end to find out how effective your editing skills really are.
1. Do you run a spelling and grammar check on business communications? 2. Do you ensure all business communications are formatted correctly? 3. Do you ensure all business communications are in a readable font? 4. Do you edit communications for spelling and watch for homophones? 5. Do you edit communications to make sure they are organised logically? 6. Do you edit communications for proper style and language usage? 7. Do you eliminate redundancy in communications you edit? 8. Do you increase clarity in communications edit? 9. Do you ensure communications are consistent on active or passive voice? 10. Do you ensure communications are consistent on verb tense? 11. Do you consult an approved style manual when editing business communications? 12. Do you edit communications with external guidelines in mind (reports, tenders, etc.)?
Do You Edit Business Communications Effectively?
Yes to 0 - 4 Questions
If you answered "yes" to between zero and four questions then you most likely do not edit business communications effectively. You may believe that the hard part is writing a business communication, but in reality that is just the first step. Properly editing a document is just as important as writing it well in the first place. Find out if your company has any guidelines or templates for business communications and/or if there is a specific style manual you should consult while writing and editing. Critically edit everything you write, from informal emails to formal presentations. Always ask yourself if the writing is clear, concise and fulfills its purpose before moving along to a line edit for spelling, grammar and usage. As you become more comfortable with editing your speed will increase, but don't let errors sneak by in business communication simply because you were too impatient to edit effectively.
Yes to 5 - 8 Questions
If you answered "yes" to between five and eight questions then you might edit business communications effectively. You probably run a spelling and grammar check and to make sure your documents are neatly aligned and formatted with the proper components, but can you honestly say that you do a thorough line edit to make sure that your grammar, style and usage is correct? Do you always read through documents with a critical eye for clarity and purpose? It can be hard to keep both the small details and the bigger picture in mind as you edit, so don't be afraid to read a document more than once so that you can focus on only a few issues at a time. The more you edit in this manner the better you will become and no doubt it won't be long before you are able to edit quickly and efficiently from the start.
Yes to 9 or more Questions
If you answered "yes" to nine or more questions then you most likely edit business communications effectively. It's no secret to you that editing a document carefully is just as important as writing it correctly, maybe even more so since just once typo or grammar error could put the credibility of the whole document on the line. Going forward, try to be conscious of how you edit so that you can pinpoint where you waste time or feel your skills are weak. By working on these areas, and addressing any "no" answers that you might have had on this questionnaire, you'll be able to edit business documents most effectively in the least amount of time.