Heike Moeller September 27, 2021 Proposal
Where do I start? After initial pleasantries are out of the way, start your presentation with your cover letter. I is your personal introduction to your audience, evidence that you understand the need for the project you are describing, and your statement that you are the right person or company to do the job. Call attention to the letter, physically take it from the proposal-remember, it should not be bound into the proposal itself-and hold it in both hands in front of you. That`s the cue for everyone else in the room to do likewise. They will do it if you do it.
Keep it simple. Use good quality paper stock-something with a high rag content has the best feel-and avoid colored papers. Rather than highlight, they tend to distract. Stick to eight point five x eleven size and fold flow charts, schematics, organizational charts, graphs, and other illustrations within the proposal itself. Larger sheets are difficult to file and quickly become dog-eared, a tattered appearance that will make your entire proposal look bad. If you are using large plans and drawings, list them as coded illustrations within the text of your proposal and submit them as separate exhibits.
Depending on what you are proposing, the readers you want to target might be members of a grant committee, potential students, parents of students, teachers, school administrators, a loan committee, or a governmental organization. It is important to consider them carefully, and tailor your information to them. What do they want to know? What concerns might they have? Are there scheduling or budget restrictions? At the very least, this client-oriented section should have a Requirements page that summarizes what they have asked for, or what you believe they need. You may also want pages like Schedule, Deadlines, Limitations, Budget, Goals, Considerations, Special Needs, and so forth, to describe in detail your understanding of what the client needs. This is not yet the time to brag about your proposed program or your organization. Keep this section focused on information about what the client wants or needs.
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.
Do not bind your letter into the proposal itself. It`s all right to clip it to the cover or insert it into an inside pocket of a folder, but it should be loose so that as you begin your presentation, the recipient can hold it in his or her hand. Print the letter on letterhead, preferably a heavy sheet that has a good feel. Address it to your primary contact, the person with whom you will work and to whom you will report. Always sign the letter. You may use your first or full name; it depends upon how personally close you are to the addressee. Do not be presumptuous in making that decision, however; it is safer to err on the side of formality than to presume a familiarity that is not really there.
As you move through your presentation, speak conversationally to those around you. Remember that you are not lecturing to a university class or speaking to a Rotary Club. Your presentation is a business process-even though you may be demonstrating your technical know-how-and you are endeavoring to win a contract or an assignment. It won`t be possible for you to perform as an expert-the person or company right for this job-unless you receive the go-ahead from your audience. Much more depends at this point upon your ability to express how you intend to apply your expertise than what that expertise actually is.
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