Why Attention to Detail is a Vital Skill
By: Laura Kilgore
One slip of the finger and a significant word is misspelled. One forgotten step in a project, one skip of the eyes over a word in an email, and I’m left embarrassed and feeling the need to prove my competency. We’ve all been there. We’ve all asked ourselves ‘how did I miss that?’ Especially for those of us working in detail-oriented roles, it is imperative that we hone our ability to catch these mistakes.
While my experience with detail-awareness comes from working as a Technical Writer and Editor, this vital skill is applicable in every industry, especially those in which human and environmental safety can be at stake. There are several reasons we should all learn to slow down and take a second, or even third look before we call a job done.
First, and most important, a keen eye for details improves accuracy and reduces risk, preventing potential injuries and destruction of property. A paratrooper about to jump out of an airplane is going to carefully check every detail of his parachute since he’ll be entrusting his life to it. The same goes for operations on an oil rig, where accidents can occur if someone overlooks some policy or skips over one little detail in a procedural step. These accidents can result in injury, property damage, or much worse.
On a slightly less-significant level, a poorly read or written email can lead to misunderstandings. These misunderstandings can affect office relationships, team projects and timelines, and even the entire business process. Reviewing a memo before sending it out can prevent confusion or the replication of faulty information.
On the positive side, carefully edited information has the power to improve overall company efficiency. By removing confusing factors in verbal or written communication, projects will flow more efficiently and deadlines will be more easily met. Office relationships can also benefit from clearly expressed thoughts and ideas.