for a strong, fast pick-me-up
If you love rugby or writing or rugby writing (as I do) – you can learn a valuable lesson from a recent article about the Wallabies victory over Argentina in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals.
I love reading Rugby coverage and when I train business clients on how to write I often use rugby examples.
As you probably know (if you are a fan of any sport) the game/event isn’t over until the very last moment. Rugby defenders have to keep on defending right up until that last moment. You can’t lose focus 60 seconds before the end OR EVEN 5 seconds before the end.
I just read an article in Australian Rugby – WALLABIES VS ARGENTINA: FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED (link included at the end of this post).
I loved the eloquence that put the victory into perspective. I quote from the last point about the Wallabies:
“They came into the tournament as underdogs, having spent less than a year under Michael Cheika. Heading into the pool of death, they were considered to be up against it to get out of their pool, let alone win it. Every challenge they have been set they have met and despite a gruelling campaign, Australia finds itself in a World Cup final. They’ll probably find themselces underdogs next Saturday but that they’re there at all is something not even they predicted.”
You can probably see why the article inspired this post.
The writer at the start keeps the errors out. The defence is strong – right up until the last point. Right up until the very last sentence. But an error slips through.
I don’t know how the error slipped through. It’s an obvious mistake that spell check could easily pick up.
There are understandably mistakes when covering an event as it happens – but this is a piece looking back at the game after it’s over.
From my experience, mistakes in business writing often occur:
1. When you change words (often to improve) but you don’t check an error that can slip in
2. When you write at the end of a busy day doing other “real work”. You are tired. You are not as focussed.
3. When you write early in the morning – before the coffee has kicked in (this often occurs with short-form e-mails and texts) I suffer from this!
4. At the end of a piece of writing. You check the start but don’t check right until the very end.
I know a lot about making and correcting errors. I’ve made so many myself – yet I know how to help others reduce and avoid errors – especially in printed collateral and website copy.
So my message to you: Read and check right up until the end of your writing. Don’t only go so far and then think that the rest will be OK.
It’s human nature to start checking properly and then just skim through.
This sort of half-arsed, skim-through checking is like a rugby team only keeping up the defence for only 70 or 78 minutes of an 80-minute game. Don’t let an error slip through in the final sentences!
Get into good checking habits.
Allow time for proper checking.
Anyway, before I publish this post I better check my writing – right up until the very last words of the last sentence. I don’t want to embarrass myselc!
Here’s a link to the full article:
If you write in your business OR if your are a sports person or sports official or commentator/writer and you’d like to improve your writing – I’d love to help. If you are a Rugby fan, we will get on famously. If you are from a different sport and not a Rugby fan – I will do my best to use sporting examples YOU can enjoy and relate to.
I strive to make business writing interesting and even entertaining.
In my journalism career, the most impressive sportspeople/ sports spokespeople I ever worked with were from Rugby Union and swimming and some tennis stars. Very professional communicators!
Some organisations realize their people need to improve their communication skills – and I’ve been privileged to have worked with and have learned from many great sports people. One thing I am impressed by is their willingness to practise and put in the work/preparation and to take their communication tasks seriously.