7 ways to get approvals without shedding a tear

Keep your sanity—and most of your prose—intact with these tested techniques.

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When you write, you always have to answer to somebody. How you stickhandle the delicate “approval process” with your subjects or boss(es) is the difference between misery and a comfortable working life. Here are seven tips that will help you do better.

1. Never use the word “approval.” You downgrade your expertise if you do. I call my process “fact checking” or “reviewing.” I also put one of these terms (IN CAPS) in the subject line, along with the deadline, so reviewers can spot it quickly.

2. Don’t ask for a review just to cover your you-know-what. Do it when it’s company policy or when, in your judgment, it’s needed. Otherwise, skip it.

3. Never try to see what you can “slip through” the system. If you’re pretty sure that mentioning the cost of that major piece of equipment is going to be a problem, or if discussing that proprietary process is going to make the lawyers twitchy, then get the OK up front. Don’t create predictable problems for yourself.

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