Revising & Editing Review

Remember – Move from Big to Small

Always revise from big to small. “Big” refers to the critical factors that influence your communication in the first place.  Refer to your initial situational analysis at the start of your editing process, to review how well you’ve addressed those elements in your communication:

  • audience
  • purpose
  • content
  • role
  • tone
  • organizational context
  • cultural context
  • medium
  • constraints

Ask yourself if your content, language, and tone meet your audience’s needs.  Ensure that the purpose of your communication is expressed clearly for your audience, and that all of your information relates to and does not stray from your purpose.  Review your language to determine if you’ve used language appropriate in type and tone to your role, purpose, and audience.  Basically, you need to analyze your communication to ensure your content and language are appropriate given all aspects of your situational analysis. All of these aspects link and work together to create an overall, and often immediate, impression in your communication.

Smaller Editing Elements

Once you’ve dealt with the big, conceptual revision items, go back again and consciously edit for smaller language items:

  • style
  • word choice
  • sentence structure
  • paragraphing
  • grammatical correctness
  • punctuation
  • typos

Don’t forget as well to review your document layout and presentation, to make sure you have enough white space and that layout enhances your information and makes it easier to comprehend. You may want to review the following pages to ensure that you are offering the best layout and presentation of information that you can offer:

The Importance of Revising & Editing

Note that revising and editing a professional communication may take some time, and may occur in a few stages, especially if you’re finalizing a longer document such as a formal report or proposal.  But no matter what type of communication you have created, always save time for revising and editing before you formally submit or present that communication.  Ultimately, your communication reflects your attention to detail and overall professionalism.

The video Writing Business Messages reviews the writing process, including the concept of revision, and previews many of the language elements discussed in the rest of this section.