Never underestimate the power of proofing. Just take a look at that sign.

It may be a rudimentary piece of advice, but small mistakes can have a huge, negative impact on what you’re trying to accomplish with any form of communication. Between accidental typos and outright mistakes, the simple step of taking the time to proofread means you’re sending out a polished piece of communication, free of potentially embarrassing errors.

Regardless of how rushed a project may be, and no matter how much you think a spelling and grammar check has you covered, be sure to share your work with someone who can help you avoid some common mistakes. Whether it’s a memo shared with just a few people or a billboard seen by thousands, running your words past someone else could be the most crucial step to help make sure the joke is NOT on you.

Some things to remember:

  • If you’re telling a client how much they’re valued, be sure to not confuse them into thinking you appreciate their fashion skills. (Costumer vs. Customer)
  • In a non-private sector, be sure you’re talking public—not pubic—especially with schools.
  • Everybody loves a good burger, but please be certain they’re angus, not anus.
  • Less drastic but equally incorrect as the aforementioned: Always remember the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re,’ and be sure to double check your use of ‘there,’ ‘their’ and ‘they’re.’

In this world of tweets and texts, correspondence has gotten increasingly swift, but it’s no excuse for laziness, especially in the business world. And whether you’re pitching to the CEO—or you’re the CEO him/herself—poor writing can discredit any message that’s trying to be conveyed… even if you’re just telling everyone “theirs fresh crap cakes in the kitchen.”

Susan Nasca is Senior Account Executive at AKHIA.

(Editor’s note: We proofed this piece before posting, but please, embarrass us in the comments if we happened to miss something…)