Sophie Moench August 21, 2021 Proposal
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.
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.
All proposals follow a basic structure: introduction, the recipient/client-oriented section, the description of proposed goods and/or services, and then the proposal writer/supplier-oriented section. The content of each section will vary from one proposal to the next, but this sequence of sections should stay the same.
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.
If you are replying to an RFP (Request for Proposal) or applying for a specific grant, you need to follow any instructions specified in the RFP or grant application as precisely as possible. An RFP response typically requires combining government agency forms with topics you need to write from scratch - based on what the RFP asks you talk about.
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?"