Working on paper?
Coffee breaks provide a good opportunity for networking and finding out how people are working nowadays. One question that intrigues me and my colleagues is ‘Does anyone work on paper still?’ By and large we don't, and we find that generally less is done this way. Occasionally we come across someone who not only marks up by hand but is sent paper proofs through the post rather than having to print out a pdf themselves.
Can accuracy be taught?
Over lunch at the course I attended recently I was chatting to another attendee and exchanging details about our working life. “Can you teach someone to be accurate?” he asked me, lamenting the sloppiness of some of the people in his department. I said I could.
He then asked me for one example of this. I felt like a rabbit caught in the headlights. This was my chance to show what an experienced and useful trainer I could be.
After a nanosecond a list pushed its way to the front of my brain, and I chose a reliably useful tip – read headings a second time. If you read down a page the chances are that you will miss an error in a heading or subhead (or pullquote or other stand out matter). If you go back and read only the headings slowly and carefully you are more likely to pick up any lurking errors. Reading again will also help you concentrate on other issues such as numbering, punctuation and capitalisation.
All this rang a bell with my companion who told me that he has missed heading errors on more than one occasion. It’s good to know that the advice we give is practical.