I recently visited three different churches and was intrigued that each one had a typo in the bulletin that they handed out at the door.
All three of these churches were 500 plus members, in new facilities with lots of great things going on.
It made me cringe to see the printed error because it left a lasting impression on me and it didn’t represent the church well.
I used to tell employees that a typo, even in the bulletin, leaves a black eye on the church that sometimes takes years to overcome.
It is a very significant mistake that should not be taken lightly.
Pull together a team and work to implement these five steps to help eliminate typos in your printed material.
5 Ways to Eliminate Typos in Your Printed Material
1. Spell Check
The spell check feature on every word processing software is the first and most important line of defense against spelling errors.
The person creating the initial document content should re-read the information and run the spell check tool.
Use an online dictionary if you are not sure of a word choice.
2. Grammar Check
Spell check works for obvious misspelled words but what about grammatical errors? Most software programs can run a grammar check that can help you catch those common mistakes in word choice. Words like to or too, there or their, ware or wear and weather or whether.
However, a grammatical proof of the document is also important to eliminate these common errors.
3. Date, Time and Number Check
Another common error is with dates, times and numbers. Since these kinds of errors are not as obvious, and don’t show up in checking software, a focused proof reading of the numbers is important.
For example, if you have a printed brochure advertising a church event, make sure the date, time of day (am/pm), price, contact phone number or email address are checked and double checked.
This is one error that can create a lot of unnecessary confusion and questions if not caught. When I proof any document with a phone number, I call that number to make sure it goes to the right person.
4. Context Check
Checking the context of the information is important to make sure that the way it is written and presented communicates the intended message.
This involves reading the text from the perspective of someone who does not have the same understanding of the information as the person writing it.
For example, an easy mistake is writing an invitation to a church event with a creative name, something like Element. You give the date and time and how fun the event will be but you don’t explain what the event will entail or who the target audience is. This is confusing to the person reading it and leaves them with more questions than answers.
You may know all of this information but it is important to share as much detail so that it is communicated accurately and will be a good sales pitch for the event.
5. Proofreading Team
Anytime a document, email or even text is being sent to more than one person, there should be a team assigned to proofreading the information.
I recommend a team of at least three people with one of those people not being familiar with the content to give an objective view of how the information is communicated.
There should be a predictable time of the week that the proof takes place. The team can be employees or volunteers. With the ease of electronic sharing of documents, a team of volunteers could easily help to fill this need.
We are all human and making errors is part of the human experience. Recognizing the possibility of making mistakes in printed documents is the first step in working toward eliminating them. This is important because the church represents Christ – and who more than the church should be doing things with excellence!
Photo by: HaroldLloyd