Before you hit send!

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Think before you hit send
Think before you hit send

A quick, last-minute editorial check before pressing Send can save biotech brand managers from embarrassing errors, omissions and redundancies in their e-mails.

Frequently, after composing a careful response to a message and hitting Send, I discover that I've mistakenly clicked Reply instead of Reply to All. Here are a few other reminders to consider before pressing that unforgiving send key.

Check for things a spell checker won't pick up.

The spell checker is a useful tool, but it won't catch everything. For instance, have you mistakenly typed their when you meant to type there or they're? How about its and it's? One (its) is a pronoun; the other (it's) is a contraction that stands for it is. Proofreading your work before sending it can eliminate this common mix-up of words.

Check consistency in spelling.

Here's a good example: the word healthcare. Or health-care. Or health care. If you started out writing healthcare, keep spelling it this way.

Omit no names from a group list.

Is it Mary Ann or Marianne you should be thanking?

Watch for redundancies and repetitions.

The italicized words in the following list are the ones to delete:

Brief in duration

Consensus of opinion

Fewer in number

Interval of time

Large (or small) in size

Past history

Personal friend

Red in color

Rough in texture

True fact

Avoid circumlocutions.

To give your writing vitality, delete qualifiers such as very, quite, and rather. And avoid sluggish sentence openings such as:

As already stated…

It goes without saying…

It is interesting (important) to note…

It was found that…

Here are other do's and don'ts:

Avoid: Better:
an increased number of more
during the time that while
at this point in time now (then)
the majority of most
produce an inhibitory effect on inhibit
in the vicinity of near
in those areas where where

Watch for Sexist language.

Even so, it can't hurt to scan your e-mail for unintended pronoun choices.

Avoid: A patient should feel at ease with his doctor.

Better: A patient should feel at ease with his or her doctor.

Better still: Patients should feel at ease with their doctor.

Rely on your spell checker—but rely also on your own eyes. Taking a few moments to proofread your work will pay off for you. Your readers will never know you had an error and failed to correct it—unless you've already hit Send.

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