My primary job these days comprises writing and editing training and development materials. Every 3-6 months, the customer makes changes to the content, which can affect specific presentation slides or whole sections of the training materials. Accepting the changes is a relatively simple task; however, before I hand the course back, I take the time to reread the entire course–PowerPoint presentation, script, and participant workbook–to make certain I haven’t missed anything along the way. This is a good practice to maintain regardless of what you’re changing or how often.
If you have the time, there are a few good reasons for rereading an entire document even if one or more small sections are being modified:
- Changes to one section might be referenced in another section.
- The changes you made in one section might affect the overall flow, meaning, or perception of the content.
- You might need to change the content leading into or following the modified content.
- If it’s been a while since your last review of the document, rereading the content gives you a chance to catch any minor errors that might have slipped your notice on a previous read-through.
One last reason it can be helpful to reread the whole document is that it gives you the opportunity to improve things you don’t like or that you think might read better with a little tweaking of the language. I read once that no document is ever truly finished, merely left in place. As with people, so too with the writing they do: there is always room for improvement.
The job I’m at finally let me do some documentation, and for my editing process, I also reread the whole document to make sure I didn’t miss anything.