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Sharpen your editing skill set

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in Workplace Communication

You've finished a key document draft. Now, it's time to edit for clarity, conciseness, accuracy, visual design and tone. Use this guide to refine and polish your draft.

1. Content

_ Is it clear to the reader?
_ Are you specific when asking for action or information?

_ Is it accurate and complete?
_ Did you provide enough detail?
_ Do your readers know "what's in it for me?"

2. Sequence

Bottom line
_ Did you lead with the message you want the reader to remember?
_ If not, is it placed strategically?

_Does the information unfold logically?

3. Design

_ Did you use enough headlines, sidelines and bulleted lists?
_ Did you use white space to frame ideas?
_ Have you highlighted deadlines and action items?

_Are statistics shown effectively?

4. Structure

_ Do they begin with a topic sentence that reaches the point?
_ Does each paragraph focus on only one topic?
_ Did you use transition words to help with the flow of ideas?
_ Do they stay within five to six lines in length?

_ Are they varied in structure and length?
_ Are they streamlined (15 to 20 words, maximum)?

5. Tone and style


_ Are they simple, specific and straightforward?
_ Are acronyms explained and terminology familiar to readers?

_ Is it personable and direct?
_ Appropriate for the audience?
_ Did you use action verbs?
_ Is your tone positive, conveying a confident attitude?
_ Did you write from the readers' perspective?

6. Final proof

_ Are grammar, punctuation and spelling correct?
_ Did you run spell-check?
_ Should someone else review it?

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