Sometimes review cycles can be slow

No matter what I’m working on, whether it be speaking notes, presentations, internal marketing pieces or formal letters, there’s always a review process. Sometimes, it’s a long, slow grind to develop the right message. And other times, everyone is on the same page and it’s more a matter of proofreading.

Fast or slow, I usually take the same review process in getting to the finish line:

  1. I bounce things off myself
    Time-permitting, I have a fresh, bright-eyed me with 6 hours of sleep review what I am working on. I’m always shocked at how many obvious edits I have for myself. I have to be honest, this happens about 60% of the time. The other 40% of the time, I head straight to step 2.
  2. I ask my manager to read it
    At every point in my career, I’ve always found great value in asking my manager to review my work.In the beginning, this helped me establish a foundation of skills. I owe a lot to one specific manager who took the time to highlight items and ask me to check the CP Style Guide for punctuation and Canadian spelling. After a while, you develop an instinct for hyphenation, capitalization, favours with a “u”, em-dashes, and the Oxford comma.In the middle of my career, I was fortunate enough to have a manager who was patient enough with me to ask for rewrites. (My record is 17 drafts!) In writing and re-writing , I learned that importance of brevity and relevance. I also discovered the power of subtitles (more on that another day).Today, while I consider myself to be a very strong writer, I still ask my manager to review my work. I don’t do this to add to the red-tape or slow down the process, I do it to ensure consistent messaging. By having someone more senior review my work, I am making sure my communication is consistent with everything we’ve said in the last 12 months and what we plan on saying in the next 12 months.
  3. My favourite part – fact-checking! 
    In  previous post, I talked a little about creating visual communications and using data to develop a story. Between all the stats and drafts, it’s easy to get things mixed up! Trust me, it’s easy. But you can avoid those an awkward “Correction Notice” by fact-checking all stats, sources and quotes in your communication before you send it for approvals.
  4. I have the content-owner review and provide feedback
    In this step, I’m looking looking to answer two important questions – is the content accurate and is the voice authentic?I never take it personally if there are heavy edits that improve the content.But sometimes, the edits I get back are a matter of style and what is on paper is not incorrect. This is where it gets tricky and I have to ask myself, does the current draft sound authentic? If it doesn’t, I usually make the change. On the other hand, if I feel strongly that the current draft is indeed authentic and compelling, then I’ll only make the change if it doesn’t lengthen nor complicate the overall message.

At any point in the process, things can drag on but somehow we always make it to the finish line with the right message.

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