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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

LESSON 7: Typos Matter!

Welcome to Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we're featuring a guest writer’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Jim Galvin is our guest blogger this week for the fourth of four lessons in "Part 2: Boardroom Tools, Templates, and Typos."

LESSON 7 OF 40 - Typos Matter!
“Pious shoddy is still shoddy.”

 In Lesson 7, we are reminded that proofreading matters. It doesn’t have to take that long and it doesn’t have to cost anything. Often, someone already on your team is an effective proofreader.

We also learn about the value of using a proven stylebook together with a stylesheet developed just for your organization. The stylesheet will save more time than it takes to develop it.

Simply put—board documents, minutes, and policy manuals filled with typos make you and the organization look bad.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 7, pages 33-37: 
 “Graciously, my board chair said nothing about the typos that ricocheted across every page.”
• John Wesley: “'Our responsibility is to give the world the right impression of God.’ Well-proofed board materials help you do that!”
• Prayer: “Lord, thank you for publishers who give us your Holy Bible without typos!” 

There is a certain sense of hollow victory in finding a typo in a professionally published book or a newspaper like USA Today. None of your friends will really care, yet it does reflect poorly on the publisher, especially if the typos are frequent.

Chapter 7 did a good job at explaining why proofreading is impotent. I will focus on the how. Typos make the board and organization look ignernt.

Use spell check. Today’s word processing programs have robust spell checking and grammar features that automatically correct typos. But sometimes they substitute a wrong word and unintentionally introduce errors. They also may have difficulty distinguishing between words like for, four, and fore. At any rate, ignoring the squiggly red lines underneath words in your document is stoopid.

Get fresh eyes. After your writing and editing is complete, find one or two people with a gift for finding typos and ask them to proof it. “Intuitive” people tend to do worse than “Sensing” personalities at this. You can find out more by looking up the Briggs and Stratton Personality Type Indicator.

Normally, I would ask my wife to do a read-through for me on a proposal to a client or a guest blog post, but no time today.

Gym Galvin


James C. Galvin, Ed.D. is an organizational consultant and facilitator specializing in strategy, board governance, and leadership development. As an author, Jim has been published by Zondervan, Tyndale House, Thomas Nelson, Baker, NavPress, Moody Press, and InterVarsity Press. He is also the co-creator and senior editor of the best-selling Life Application Study Bible. Jim’s most recent book is I’ve Got Your Back, a leadership parable with a compelling story that delivers a concise theology of leadership and followership. He is also the managing partner of the Alliance for Board Effectiveness.

• Identify the people around you who have a gift for detailed work and ask for their help.
• For bigger projects, locate one or two professional proofreaders looking for new clients.
• Never attempt to proofread your own writing. 


On Jan. 10, 2018, watch for Wayne Pederson's commentary on Lesson 8, "Listen to the Wisdom of Many Counselors. Don't ask board members to vote against God!

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