Providing clear, direct feedback is essential to the MLR review process–it helps your team understand what changes need to be made to efficiently move the review process along. However, leaving clear and direct feedback is not always the easiest thing to do. Feedback can be misinterpreted or misunderstood, leading to frustration and added time to your review cycle. 

Next time you’re leaving feedback as part of the MLR review process, consider these six best practices. These tips are helpful for everyone, but particularly for those working remotely or if you have recently digitized your MLR review process. 

#1: Be specific

Specificity is paramount to leaving good feedback. Strive to communicate your feedback in a way that establishes a clear path forward. Avoid using vague words or phrases that leave room for interpretation, such as “could,” “may,” or “I prefer.” 

For example:

Instead of: “I’m not so sure about this button color. Generally, with web content, we like to use a purple button to draw the user’s eye to the call to action. We’ve found that the color purple encourages more clicks. Let’s make the button a purple color.”

Say: “Please make this button purple. A/B testing suggests it encourages more clicks.”

#2: Adhere to your roles and responsibilities

When leaving feedback during MLR review, take your role into consideration. If you are a regulatory reviewer, avoid leaving feedback around branding. Alternatively, if you are a marketer, avoid leaving feedback around legal language. Role adherence helps keep your review moving forward, reduces bottlenecks, and allows team members to focus on their individual areas of expertise. 

#3: Indicate if the change is suggested or required

It’s important to not only be specific with your feedback, but to indicate the type of feedback as well. Sometimes, you may have feedback that you want someone to take into consideration, but it’s not necessarily required. Alternatively, there are other times when your feedback absolutely needs to be incorporated. Make sure to reflect this distinction. 

For example, if you are leaving feedback that is required:

Instead of: “I think we should rework this headline.”

Say: “Please use the headline found in doc titled OnePager_Feb2020 for consistency.”

#4: Put the decision or request up front

To eliminate any misinterpretation of your feedback, communicate your requested changes first. If your directive feedback is buried underneath a paragraph of context or rationalization, it can be difficult for the reader to dissect what is being asked.

For example:

Instead of: “I’m not so sure about this button color. Generally, with web content, we like to use a purple button to draw the user’s eye to the call to action. We’ve found that the color purple encourages more clicks. Let’s make the button a purple color.”

Say: “Please make this button purple. A/B testing suggests it encourages more clicks.”

#5: Communicate the “why”

When you are working with more junior employees or are onboarding someone new to your organization, it can be helpful to communicate the “why” behind your feedback. The “why” information helps to educate and build the skill sets of your team so they can make informed decisions on their own. If the issue continues to arise, consider bringing it up in a meeting for conversation or debate.

For example:

Instead of: “Please make this a trademark instead of a copyright.”

Say: “Please make this a trademark instead of a copyright. We always use a TM after our product brand names.”

#6: When in doubt, talk

If you are struggling to leave concise, clear feedback–that’s ok. Set up time to talk with your team. If you want to use your review as an opportunity to capture conversation topics, simply drop a comment that indicates you want to talk through something and a decision is still TBD. While you shouldn’t rely on having conversations for every piece of feedback, it is a useful tool for establishing consensus or engaging in healthy debate. 

For example, if there is a larger piece of feedback you want to discuss:

Say: “I’d like to talk about this paragraph in our next MLR review meeting. I have some concerns about how the product is positioned.”

Remember: the MLR review process is about communicating, and communication isn’t always perfect. Be patient with the process. Treat every MLR review cycle as a new opportunity to try one of these best practices and open up dialogue with your team. The more you communicate as a team, the better.

**Bonus tip:

Another way for your team to achieve an efficient, collaborative, and compliant MLR review process is with promotional review software built exclusively for life sciences, such as Pepper Flow.

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