When talking to firms about training, I often hear the following statements: “It’s so easy, you don’t need training”; “If you can’t learn it in an hour, it is not worth knowing”; and my favorite, “We are getting documents out the door.”

You can’t easily tell the difference between a document that will cost your firm unnecessary time, money and productivity and one that won’t. See the two pages below. Notice how similar they look. Each is the first page of a 30-page document. Making corrections to the first document might take 2.5 minutes. The same corrections in the second one might take 62.5 minutes. What makes the difference in time and effort? Formatting.

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