Respecting Reviews – Five Top Tips for Success

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Reviews, eh? I’ve certainly seen a few over the years.

When I think back to my first, it seems like ages ago. It is, of course – I’ve been in bids for yonks! Since I started, technology has almost completely changed the way we go about reviews. What hasn’t changed is how important they are. We’re all aware of that. We should be reviewing regularly throughout the bid and proposal cycle – not just frantically at the end. (Hands up if the latter sounds like you. Don’t worry, I’ll put mine up.) What we’re probably all guilty of is not giving our reviewers enough time or direction. So, here are the five things I like to get right when I’m reviewing.

Well…before I do that let me just take a walk down memory lane.

There used to be this thing in our office called paper. And there was a lot of it. All the time. If the thing I was reviewing wasn’t a hard copy, I’d print it out anyway! We all did. Then out came the highlighters and on went the teacher’s hat and bish-bash-bosh went the dodgy grammar and spelling (or what I insisted was dodgy – not everyone agreed). Then off went my corrections down the line where they were corrected by someone else, whose comments were in turn commented on and so on until purgatory.

Then it was Word and tracked changes. No, don’t print it out, just add your comments. And off it pinged around the company, with the last word usually going to the person who jumped on it three hours before the deadline. But the funny thing is, even now, when we’re doing it all online, it can still all be a terrible, confusing mess. Why? Because it’s not what you use but how you use it. Nothing is ever efficient and effective unless you plan for it. That means giving direction and allowing time.

Which brings me back to my five things to do when asked to review:

  • Ask what is expected of you. It might be spelling and grammar or to check the question is answered fully. Maybe fluency and tone and that it hangs together. Perhaps something around the scoring criteria or a focus on a particular section. Be specific.
  • Make sure the executive summary is compelling.
  • Ask HOW they want your comments (in other words, where). Within the document with tracked changes? It’s important to set guidelines.
  • Be constructive with criticism. “Yuck” isn’t nice or helpful.
  • Ask how much time is available and set expectations early.

Finally, a good review takes time and concentration. Don’t squeeze it in. Give it the respect it needs. And review as many times as you can before it gets to the Final Reviewer (and try and make that person someone who’s never seen it before).

Right, let me review what I just wrote…

This article was written by Kat Wyon.

Kat is the Research Director for Strategic Proposals. Having set up bid teams and worked across Telecomms, IT, Financial Services and Service Management, she is experienced in the world of sales and bidding across multiple sectors.

Kat has successfully defined and implemented best practice processes whilst being responsible for recruitment, management and motivation of staff within bid teams. She has driven the transformation of teams with the ability to create a mission statement for the team and strategically deliver against that mission

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