Sophie Moench August 17, 2021 Proposal
Obstructions and distractions. It`s not unusual for differing opinions and disagreements-sometimes even confrontations-to surface during proposal presentations. Known or unknown to you may be someone in your audience who previously presented or sponsored a similar proposal that was rejected. There may be congenital naysayers who distrust innovation or change of any kind. There may be one or two persons who adopt a show-me! attitude and refuse to believe that an idea worth listening to could ever come from (pick one) an insider, outsider, field representative, corporate staff person, woman, man, engineer, marketing specialist, or...fill in the blank.
A proposal is nothing more than a tool that you use to get an assignment. It should not be a blueprint for doing the job. After all, you certainly do not want to give away everything you know in your proposal so that your potential client or supervisor can simply pick it up and hand it over to someone else to implement. There is often a fine line between telling what you plan to do and telling how you plan to do it. The most effective proposals march boldly up to that line...and stop.
The purpose of the proposal. Your proposal is a sales tool and should be used as such. It is a declaration of what you plan to do for your client or your supervisor as well as confirmation that you are the right person, department, or company to undertake the project. It should be well thought out, clearly written, adequately illustrated, and professionally presented. Anything less diminishes your chances of obtaining the job. No matter how competent you are and capable of doing the work, the simple truth is that you may not get the opportunity to demonstrate your skills if you prepare and present a proposal that fails to speak well of you.
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.
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.
All is not lost, however. Obstructionists can be very useful during your presentation because they raise issues and objections that you can effectively respond to and neutralize-especially when you are prepared to do so. Without overplaying or pandering to a troublesome member of your audience, accept criticism appreciatively and graciously and build upon it, emphasizing the positive points you are presenting.
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