Sarah Neudorf October 15, 2021 Proposal
The summary is not a substitute for the proposal itself. Rather, it is a quick and concise reference to what the proposal contains. Sometimes called an abstract, outline, or précis, the summary is a condensed statement of what the full proposal contains. During a personal presentation, it is useful both as an introduction and a wrap-up. Later on if it becomes necessary to return to the proposal for clarification of certain points, the summary serves as a convenient memory jogger. For these reasons you might consider using bulleted points when formatting your summary.
As you lay out your plan, try to keep in mind a couple of questions that your audience may not ask but will certainly be thinking: "What can we expect as a minimum outcome of your work?" and "What steps will you follow, and how will we know you (and we) are on target?"
If you choose to use a flip chart, PowerPoint, overhead or slide projector, VCR, computer screen, or some other demonstration aid, practice ahead of time so that your presentation proceeds smoothly. And, of course, check your equipment before the meeting to see that it is functioning properly. In the event you run into trouble with your display tools, do not take more than a minute or so trying to make corrections or you will lose your audience. Instead, be prepared to proceed without audio/visual assistance.
Show and tell. Resist, even to the point of seeming obstreperous, all requests to "just mail it to us." Anything short of a face-to-face meeting will inevitably detract from your proposal. After all, your proposal is meant to sell more than your services; it also sells you.
Requests for proposals (RFP). Although your firm or department over the years may have developed a format for preparation of bids and proposals, it is sometimes necessary that you adapt your design. Requests for proposals (RFP) issued by large corporations or governmental agencies often require that each proposal conform to their very specific formats.
At this point, you will have completed the first draft of your proposal. Congratulations! Now for the finishing touches. Have a qualified proofreader or editor read through your draft and fix any grammatical or spelling errors. It is always best to enlist someone who is not familiar with your ideas to do this. That person is much more likely to catch errors and ask important questions than someone who knows your proposal well. It would be especially embarrassing to submit an error-ridden proposal for an education project, would not it? After the words are perfect, make sure each page looks good, too. You might want to use visual details like splashes of color in titles or special bullet points to add interest, but keep the overall look professional.
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