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The Few, the Proud, the Typophobic

In case you’re not aware, narcophobia (the fear of death) ranks second — below glossophobia (the fear of public speaking) — among the general population. That’s right. People are more afraid to speak to groups of people than they are to die.

We can’t help but wonder if the means of demise has anything to do with that emotional calculation, however irrational it may be. We can understand that some folks might choose a blissful falling asleep, never to awaken, at the age of 100, rather than addressing a crowd of militant college undergraduates whose safe zones were invaded by an opinion they didn’t like. But other than addressing a crowd of militant college undergraduates whose safe zones were invaded by an opinion they didn’t like, most public-speaking engagements are survivable, aren’t they?

At any rate, we don’t know if we qualify as members of the general population. But we do know this: We’d rather give speeches to crowds of militant college undergraduates whose safe zones were invaded by an opinion they didn’t like all day every day — or get taken out by a runaway cement mixer — than to find a typo in anything. We have zero tolerance for anyone who offers any excuses or rationalizations for typos. Neither do we give quarter, understanding, or mercy for them. And most of all, we don’t forgive ourselves for those typos with which we have any involvement whatsoever. If that makes us typophobic, so be it.

Everybody’s human. We get that. Humans are fallible. Granted. Nobody’s perfect. Check. By the same token, everyone has the time to proofread, notwithstanding that age-old axiom of bureaucratic organizations everywhere: There’s never time to do it right, but there’s always time to do it over.

So, what do you do if you find a typo? Suck it up. Fess up. Take the hit. Make sure it gets corrected. If there’s any cost for the do-over, eat it. You might very well have given your client the chance to proofread, but the buck stops with you.

Look on the bright side: Being typophobic is likely to make you very popular with your customers.

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