Years ago, a shrewd politician gave me a lesson in the importance of preparation. He lived his political life by the 5 P’s: Preparation Prevents Piss-Poor Performance. Crude, yes, but undeniable – and unforgettable.
Now, I’ve come up with my own 5 P’s: Proofing Prevents Piss-Poor Prose. Like my old mentor’s motto, what this lacks in elegance it makes up for in truth. You can craft your correspondence with care and prepare your presentation with prudence, but often we are so “in” our documents – particularly when we’ve been working on them a long time – that we lose sight of what we’re trying to achieve and fail to read our own text as an objective reader approaching it for the first time might.
For the times when getting it right matters, professional proofing is the only solution.