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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Most Unfortunate Typo Ever

"Public" signs have new meaning...
For the past 13 years I've worked in corporate Public Relations, which is sometimes called Public Affairs. I spend a lot of time writing and editing a variety of speeches, news releases, talking points and presentations. From time-to-time I'll attend workshops or conferences to sharpen my skills.

It was at one such conference that I saw the most unfortunate typo ever. A professional was set to deliver a PowerPoint slide presentation to the audience of which I was member. I'm not sure if it was the event organizer or the presenter herself who's to blame, but when the first slide appeared her title "Public Relations Director" was missing the letter "L" in Public.

The omission of that single letter significantly changed her title.

During her speech she seemed to be unaware of her typo-induced skill set, and she delivered a great public presentation.

However, it was difficult to hear what she said given the sophomoric-typo on the first slide.  I learned a couple important lessons that day:

1.) Proof read everything you write;

2.) Don't rely solely on spell check - even absent the "L" the alternate spelling of "public" still makes a correctly spelled word;

3.) Avoid using the word "public" when you can.

Having said that I've compiled a short-list of words that each take on shocking new meaning when the aforementioned "L" is AWOL.
  • Public Library
  • Public Address
  • Public Transportation
  • Public Swimming Pool
  • Public Announcement
  • Public Parking
  • Public Speaking
  • Public Knowledge
  • Public Display of Affection
  • Public Service

I'm the first to publicly admit that this is not the most uplifting post I've ever shared, but please accept it as a Public Service Announcement of sorts. Consider yourself warned regarding all things public.

Question: Have you seen a typo that made your inner child chuckle?

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