How to be the most popular commenter on documents

Are you ever on a circulation list to approve or comment on internal documents? I am, but as someone who seems to do little else other than create documents for a living, I’m even more likely to be the one asking for comments. I really appreciate those colleagues who read them for me, and – despite what some may think – I’m very grateful for their input, even if critical or trivial. But those of us on the circulation could all make ourselves very popular by doing three simple things.

Firstly, if we haven’t got time to read the document, we should say so. Keeping the originator waiting for something that may never come is far worse than not doing it at all.

Secondly, we should put all of our comments in a single response. There’s nothing worse for the originator than ticking someone off the list as having had their say, only to get something else from them later.

Finally, if we have nothing to say, we should respond to say so. I’d guess that at least once a month, I wait right up to the deadline waiting for feedback on documents, only to find that almost everyone had read it, thought it was fine, and could have told me so several days before. The result is that I’m then rushing to move things on to the next stage when I could have done it earlier without any stress (and potential errors resulting from that).