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Sharpen your editing skill set

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by on
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


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


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?


Organization
_Does the information unfold logically?


3. Design


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


Presentation
_Are statistics shown effectively?


4. Structure


Paragraphs
_ 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?


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


5. Tone and style


Words

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


Style
_ 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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