Although this has nothing to do with enterprise software per se, almost everybody in business does lots of writing,\u00a0and proofreading that writing is always a pain. I know this pain first hand after once being hauled over the coals in a performance evaluation for the errors and typos in my emails. Let me share a technique that I have found to be very effective for both proofreading and improving writing.\n\n\nWhile grammar-checking tools are a huge help when it comes to catching writing mistakes, many authors still struggle with proofreading, especially with things like emails and blog articles. One technique is to leave the writing for a few days and then proofread it, but that only goes so far. Unfortunately, you still miss too much because you read what you think you wrote, not what you actually did write.\n\n\nSoftware is taking over the world, so why not let it help by reading your prose aloud to you? Text-to-speech\u00a0is a very powerful way to proofread because the computer is doing the reading and not you, the author. You hear what you actually wrote, and mistakes, poor phrasings and the wrong order of ideas are suddenly apparent.\n\n\nI\u2019m a clumsy typist, forever typing \u201cyou\u201d instead of \u201cyour,\u201d and vice versa. I make the same mistake with \u201cout\u201d and \u201cour\u201d. Unfortunately, grammar checkers don\u2019t always catch these kinds of errors, but when the computer reads your writing aloud, they jump out at you.\n\n\nText-to-speech also helps with the order of ideas when writing, because they don\u2019t always flow as well as they could. Sometimes it is the order of words or phrases in a sentence, sometimes the order of sentences themselves and occasionally the order of paragraphs. In all cases when the computer reads my prose aloud, problems with the flow of the text are immediately apparent.\n\n\nThere are an optimum number of words to use when writing. Too few words and people don\u2019t understand the message; too many words and the message gets diluted. When the computer reads your prose aloud, you quickly spot those places where you have used the wrong number of words. Sometimes I catch myself repeating the same idea in different words, often with clumsy prose. Again, text-to-speech helps you identify these kinds of problems so they can be rewritten.\n\n\nIf you are using Microsoft Word, customize the Quick Access toolbar to include \u201cSpeak.\u201d If you are working in a Chrome browser, try Speakit! from the Chrome Web store. I don\u2019t use a Mac, but this article on Wikihow for OS X should help you enable the text-to-speech option.\n\n\nWe all look down on somebody who makes mistakes in their emails. One typo may be forgiven, but two or three errors and the sender has all but destroyed their credibility. I have developed the habit of listening to my emails before sending them, and caught innumerable errors. Even those quick one-liner emails often contain errors or simply are not clear enough.\n\n\nWhen writing articles for CIO.com text-to-speech proofreading comes to the rescue when struggling with a paragraph. Once an article is complete, I\u2019ll use a grammar checker (Grammarly in my case) to clean up the text and then have the computer read the entire article to me. It usually takes several passes to polish that article, but it works very well.\n\n\nGive it a try. Let the computer do the work of proofreading for you, and you will be amazed by how much it improves your writing.