Heike Moeller October 17, 2021 Proposal
Do you have an idea for a new educational program or service? Maybe you want to apply for a government grant for an after-school program for middle school kids, organize a private high school, or develop a network of tutors for hire. How are you going to get the money you need and explain your ideas to the influential people who can make it happen? The best way is to master the art of writing a proposal.
If your presentation is going to be relayed to other persons by a member of the initial audience, make certain that person thoroughly understands every word you say. Ask if he or she would like any additional information to help with the later retelling of your plan.
Try to avoid using jargon, acronyms, and insider terms. Instead of making you sound more intelligent and knowledgeable, they can obstruct the communications process and produce a contrary effect. For example, although you feel sure your audience knows what you are talking about, there is always the chance that one member of the group reviewing your proposal may misunderstand an expression. Or perhaps he or she may simply never have heard a particular term and is reluctant to ask for clarification. Unbeknownst to you, that person may be someone who ultimately has a strong influence over whether your proposal is accepted or rejected.
Summarize up front. Begin your proposal with an executive summary, preferably one that is no more than one page in length. Obviously, it is much easier to write the summary after the proposal is complete; doing so at the outset generally means extra work making revisions later on. In all likelihood your direction will change somewhat as you construct the document`s various parts.
Keeping the group together is sometimes difficult but always necessary. Just one person who insists upon leafing through the pages and making off-the-point comments and observations can quickly disrupt the flow of your presentation. You might ask him or her to make notes of items for clarification so that you can address each one at the conclusion of your presentation.
Be aware that there may be a hidden audience whom you never see or even know about who reads your proposal after you have made your presentation; the CFO or comptroller who ultimately approves all invoices might be an example. Will that person(s) understand every point it contains without hearing you explain, "What that really means is this..."? Also remember that portions of the text may be read aloud. If a member of your audience asks, "What is our duty here where it says...," he or she should be able to read the passage smoothly without stumbling over a series of stilted phrases or hard-to-pronounce words or sounds.
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