Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Turf war of words

Yesterday I got into a turf war with another vendor over their audio scripting. It was funny for several reasons. But let me set the scene...

My client copies me on an email regarding an audio script that another vendor wrote; since we were going to be incorporating the video they were producing in our e-learning module, he wanted me to review it. So I reviewed it as I would any script that one of my writers would send to me. I changed it from passive to active voice, and I changed the "we" point of view narration to "you" because of the personalization adult learning principle (people remember more if content is personalized to them and their direct experience).

I knew before I sent it that the other vendor was going to be upset about my edits. There's nothing that riles a person up more than another vendor coming in and correcting something you've done in front of your client. So when I sent my comments, I did the whole "hey, this is just my opinion, I put all my comments in tracked changes, you and client can totally ignore if you see fit," blah, blah, blah.

No sooner do I send my edits than the other vendor sends an email back to our client, explaining why my comments should be ignored. I know this because I was on the phone with the client and he was reading me the email and I was again explaining why I made the edits and he could totally ignore me without my being offended. So he went through the pros-cons cycle: he DID ask my opinion and expertise in the first place, and I DID have rationale based on learning research to back up my changes, and ultimately I'm getting paid for providing them with my expertise in learning. So in the end they kept my changes (of course, while I was on the phone there was also an informal survey on the client-side of what everyone in the room thought, but I also won that by a narrow margin).

Score one for research, grammar, and a little tenacity. And on National Grammar Day, no less...