keep your draft reviews on track

Draft reviews & how to stay on track

When you send a draft out for review, everyone wants the review to go well. But things can go off the rails after that.

A successful review process begins with getting all sides to see the same goal. Then, it uses communication that is unifying and respectful to set the stage for consensus.

Here are three ways to keep everyone on track to “yes:”

1. Look beyond the draft

You should always be targeting the ultimate deadline, and all that remains to be done. The more times everyone has heard the ultimate deadline (and their final deadline for approval), the more likely they are to remember and honor it. It’s better to set pragmatic deadlines up front than to set aspirational deadlines you miss.

2. Remember the message

The ultimate message should have been agreed upon before you started. Now, you need to keep the train moving toward that destination. You need feedback that ensures you have accurately conveyed the message, while you thoughtfully allocate other messages elsewhere. Which gets to…

3. Don’t say “no” (or “yes”)

When reviewers submit changes that are off-track, don’t say “no”—but don’t say “yes.” Instead, say “instead.” Suggest an alternative change that addresses their concerns in a more consistent, concise, and elegant way. Maybe even suggest other places to address other messages while this train is still headed to the agreed-upon station.


At the end, reconfirm that you made the right decisions by looking at the right feedback—which gets to the subject of metrics …