As a founder, entrepreneur, or business owner, you work hard to make sure your communications hit the mark. You spend a ton of money on marketing materials, newsletters, emails, ad campaigns, and more.
And then you send out your materials only to discover that something is wrong. It might be something seemingly minor, like a typo. Or maybe it’s something worse, like a grammatical error you didn’t catch. Or possibly something felt correct when you read it, but you later discovered it didn’t communicate the way you had intended.
You can have the best message. But if there are errors, it will negate all your hard work. Unfortunately, it is often hard to proofread your materials and spot problems. The issue is, when you proofread something, your brain fills in gaps. It reads what you think is on the page, not what is actually on the page. And, to compound matters, it’s difficult to pick up on higher-level issues while reading.
I stumbled upon a solution I’ve never heard anyone else use that has helped me quickly spot errors I had previously missed. Although I am currently using it for writing a book, this concept applies to any form of communication.
While writing my books, I sometimes end up sitting at my desk for 12 to 14 hours a day. A few weeks ago while doing this, I realized I was getting quite stiff. I wanted to go for a walk, but I didn’t want to lose precious time. A first draft of the book was written, and I shifted into editing mode.
I then had an idea: convert the manuscript into an audiobook so that I could listen to it. This would allow me to leave my desk yet still get work done.
To create the audio, I did a quick internet search and found several A.I. text-to-voice options. There are a few ways you can do this at no cost. For example, if you have a Mac, this is a built-in option. Unfortunately, the voices are way too robotic. I found one that is very inexpensive and quite realistic.
It was simple. I uploaded the Word document and then it spit out a high-quality audio version.
What are the advantages of this approach over reading your materials on paper or the computer?
I found several benefits:
- You can move your body while giving your eyes a rest! This is very helpful from a physical perspective. But also the new environment helped me think differently. Are you writing a pitch deck? A newsletter blast? A brochure? An article? A speech? Maybe getting out of the office will free your mind and help you be more creative.
- While listening to the materials being read back, you can hear grammatical errors and typos! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve posted an article where later, people pointed out the issues. Or newsletters where after I hit send, I discovered a problem. What if you could catch those errors during the editing process rather than after you press send or post?
- In addition, you will hear the flow. When listening to your materials, you will pick up things that are missed while reading. Sometimes you might use a phrase too many times in a paragraph. It becomes painfully obvious in the audio. Also, while listening to longer materials like a speech or an article, you can hear when sections go on way too long while others need more meat.
While walking and listening, I take notes on my phone so that when I go back to the computer, I have those handy.
A truly amazing way to get even greater results is to simultaneously listen to the audio while reading your communication. That’s what I did for this article. When you see and hear the materials at the same time, more opportunities to improve the document leap off the page.
Give this a try with your next article, blog post, newsletter, email, marketing materials, or presentation. I think you will be shocked at how much you pick up while listening versus just reading. I think you will find that this innovative approach to reviewing your materials is a game-changer!