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read a white paper out loud

Quick Tip: Read a draft to your reviewers

Did you ever work with a SME who kept putting off reviewing a white paper draft?

Maybe English wasn’t their first language.

Or maybe they weren’t sure how to express their comments on your draft.

But they were too embarrassed to admit it.

Here’s a smart way around that:

1. Schedule a meeting or Zoom, and read the draft out loud to them.

This works best with a group of three or four reviewers max.

2. Invite everyone to interrupt if they have any questions, if they disagree with anything you just read, or if they can’t understand something.

3. Listen carefully, don’t get defensive, and ask if others have the same issue. Resolve every comment as you go.

4. Try to re-word any troublesome sentences on the fly and get everyone’s okay.

This reading-out-loud approach can feel slow-going, but it’s really a win-win.

  • Everyone feels like you listened to them
  • Some reviewers may gain more confidence
  • You come away with a corrected draft

And this simple trick can save days or even weeks of review time, or get a white paper that’s stuck in reviews moving again.


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About Gordon Graham

Worked on 300+ white papers for clients from Silicon Valley to Switzerland, on everything from choosing enterprise software to designing virtual worlds for kids, for clients from tiny startups to 3M, Google, and Verizon. Wrote White Papers for Dummies which earned 50+ 5-star ratings on Amazon. Won 16 awards from the Society for Technical Communication. And named AWAI 2019 Copywriter of the Year.

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