Sophie Moench August 21, 2021 Proposal
Watch your language. Nothing kills proposals faster than poor or careless writing. No matter how impressive your technical knowledge, familiarity with the field, or track record, a sloppily prepared proposal can doom your chances for success. Thoughtless and incomplete preparation or an untidy printed proposal reflects negatively on your ability to do the job, suggesting that you may be equally neglectful in your work.
When the day arrives for your presentation, make sure that all the decision makers will be in attendance. Call ahead the day before and ask whether anyone will not be present. If you know their names, read the list to your primary contact. Because missing persons might later receive the actual attendees interpretation of the meeting in place of your carefully planned presentation, it is best to have everyone in the same room at the same time. If that does not seem to be feasible, ask to reschedule the presentation date until all concerned can attend. Ten o`clock in the morning is usually the most opportune time for an hour-and-a-half to two-hour meeting; Friday afternoon is the least favorable.
Break up gray pages of solid type with bullets and lists that draw the reader`s eye to important points. Keep margins fairly wide (1½" is sufficient) to enable your audience to make notes. Number the pages so that you can easily direct your listeners to particular information.
After you have written one proposal, you will find that the next one is easier and faster to write, and that you can re-use a lot of the same information in multiple proposals. But is important to customize each one to the specific recipient; that`s the difference between proposal writing and mass marketing.
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.
Unless every proposal that goes out of your office is carefully read before it leaves, there is the danger that gremlins will find their way into your document. Boilerplate that contains spaces for different insertions to be filled in as each new proposal is written is particularly accident prone. Failure to change just one ABC Widget Company before submitting a proposal to the XYZ Widget Company can destroy your entire presentation. Not only is it an embarrassing mark of carelessness, but it also may reveal far more about your business than you care to have known.