Three tips for successfully navigating the approval process gauntlet

You’ve interviewed multiple sources for that news release, speech or internal communications newsletter article. After you write a great draft, you send it out to your reviewers for approval.

And you wait…

And you wait…

You send out a reminder email. And you wait…

And your deadline starts getting closer…

What should you do? It’s a common problem that faces every communicator who’s ever put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard).

For a recent workshop I presented to a client, I came up with 10 tips for breaking through the approval process log jam. Here are three of them:

  1. Give approvers a realistic deadline for getting back to you — Communicators are used to working on deadline but we should remember not everyone has our sense of urgency. Your failure to give an approver enough time to give you their feedback is your fault, not theirs. Unless you’re dealing with a crisis and need to send out an immediate communication, I recommend giving an approver at least a week to provide you their comments.
  2. Verify the approver will be available to review your copy — People take time off work for a variety of planned and unexpected reasons, including parental leave, sick leave, vacation, weddings, honeymoons, surgical procedures and funerals. When you interview a source, be sure to verify they will be available in the near future to review your draft. They might not think ahead and let you know they will be out of the office for two weeks, which could cause you a problem.
  3. If the approver has an assistant, c.c. them on your email(s) — Looping in the approver’s assistant can pay big dividends. If you need to ask the assistant’s help in reaching the approver, they will already know what it’s regarding and how soon you need a response. The assistant can also potentially warn you if the supervisor will be unavailable and when they’ll be back in the office.

Based on my more than 40 years of experience working in journalism and corporate communications, I’ve developed seven more tips for breaking through the approval process log jam. Want to learn more? Contact me for information about my workshop rates and availability.

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