It’s Just A Draft….

We know that our final product has to be perfect. All the i’s must be dotted and all the t’s must be crossed.

The pictures must be sized perfectly and placed on the slide correctly. The document must be spell-checked.

…but what about the first draft?

Take a moment and think about this through the mind of your new client. He or she has not seen the fantastic final product you can produce yet. The client is nervous about all the billable hours you are putting in. Maybe the client is worried that if you don’t work out it will negatively affect the budget. Then – you turn in your first draft of a deliverable. Because it’s a draft, you are only concerned with the content, structure, and flow rather than the details.

Here’s what your client sees:

  • sloppiness
  • poor grammar
  • no attention to detail
  • unattractive layout

Here’s what your client thinks:

“This consultant has already billed thousands of dollars and they either can’t spell, or can’t work the spell check on their computer. Someone’s head is going to roll.”

I interviewed one of my colleagues – Elise Margol – about drafts. She stated, “First drafts, especially with a new client, are like a first date. You really have to think about the impression you are making. It’s the whole first impression thing, right? And what happens if you make a negative first impression – well, it’s hard to recover from it.”

Why put yourself through that? Here are some simple steps for the first draft you turn in to make sure you start off on the right foot:

#1 – Spell and Grammar Check. Easy. Always do this. Really.

#2 – Look at your deliverable in slide mode or in print preview mode. Better yet, print it out! What looks good on screen might not look as good printed.

#3 – If it is eLearning or a PowerPoint slide, play it. Watch it in its entirety.

#4 – If it’s a PowerPoint slide with instructor notes, look at the “Notes View”. You’ll be surprised at the font changes that may have shown up.

#5 – If there are other consultants on the project – ask them to proof read. But I must caution – do not send confidential client information to consultants that are not working on the project!

I welcome further suggestions on how to proof your first draft quickly.

Leigh Anne Lankford is an instructional designer with 20 years’ experience in the field of HRD. She works as a Relationship Manager for TrainingPros in Atlanta, helping Learning Leaders meet their goals through talented contingent staffing. You can reach Leigh Anne at  

2 Responses to “It’s Just A Draft….”
  1. Ross Blake says:

    Superb advice; a little time spent in advance pays off greatly later.

  2. Maria DalMolin says:

    Great post, Leigh Anne, as usual! I have also found that providing the client w/ clear instructions regarding how to download their files, or specifically view the content, helps to ensure that they are able to review the materials in the intended format (view in notes for Facilitator direction, show mode for video, unzip media files, etc…) and avoids confusion or delays in the review schedule. Thanks and keep up the great work!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: