If boring, you suck! A salutory tale of bad proofreading


Were it so simple. Imagine if popping a tab of dextrose could make you a more engaging speaker. Then you wouldn’t risk – with sweaty palms and heart racing like a speeding locomotive – reaching the round, red carpet on the TED stage only to fumble on monotone for the allotted 18 minutes. No, this isn’t a post about presentation skills. Dextro Energy alone is, unfortunately, unlikely to stop any of us being a bore in meetings or networking events, or sucking at public speaking! However, some good proofreading might.

Great idea, poorly executed

When we first relocated to Germany in 1999, I took part in a language training course organized by my husband’s company, a well-known German engineering enterprise. Knowing that the days would be long, and the content uninspiring, the front cover of the training folder helpfully included a pack of Dextro Energy and the instruction: If boring, you suck. The intention: give trainees a sugar rush just when they need it. However, this incident would become my initiation into ‘the Grammar Police.’

What it should have said was: If you get bored, try this!

It’s become my role in life to help businesses to find the most effective words that resonate with their target audiences and differentiate them from their competitors. This is already a highly-specialized task when everyone in the team speaks the same language – both literally and metaphorically! Add into the mix a number of different mother-tongues, cultural backgrounds, skill areas, and increasingly complex topics – such as the impacts of digital transformation and the internet of things (IOT) – and the value of clear thinking, an external perspective, careful editing, and a final native proofreading can’t be overstated.

But where do you find such a service?

My new business, Justa Public Relations, delivers effective international communication and technology PR expertise for the dawn of digital transformation. It takes a PRaaS (public relations-as-a-service) approach, giving businesses of all sizes access to as much or as little expert international communication, marcom or social media support as they need, without having to commit to a retainer or minimum budget.

Just a press release, fine. Just a blog post, no problem. Just a nativeEnglish check of your website, investor pitch or sales proposal, when do you need it by? We’d love to hear what you need today.

Disclaimer: The training book actually said: If boring, suck this! I edited it both for a stronger headline, and to avoid the implied sexual connotations. If you don’t understand why, then I suggest you investigate native-English proofreading support for your most important English texts!

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *