Brigitte Werfel September 29, 2021 Proposal
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.
Every project proposal contains at least some of these elements, though not necessarily in this order: cover letter, title page, table of contents, credentials and qualifications, statement of the problem and rationale for undertaking the job, goal(s) and supporting objectives, plan of operation, work or product measurement and evaluation, summary, cost, and appendices. How you organize, write, and deliver your proposal is essential to its success.
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.
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.
Take care to avoid inadvertently implying commitments for actions other than those specifically stated within your plan. Do not, for example, allow an inference to be drawn that you will supply certain materials, personnel, documentation, training, or ongoing support if you do not intend to do so. Likewise, be cautious during your presentation about committing to oral agreements that are not contained in the written proposal. It is perfectly acceptable-even advisable-to outline both your obligations and those of the individual or company to whom you are submitting your proposal. Better to discuss and agree upon such items at the time of the proposal presentation than to face misunderstandings down the road.
If the proposal is more than 10 pages long, include a page-specific table of contents as a guide for the reader. After describing the problem and plan that are the bases for your proposal, follow those portions with references; biographies of the principals who will be involved in the task; a client and project list; credentials, licenses, and certifications; perhaps a glossary of terms; a list of illustrations; and any other supporting information.
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