Brigitte Werfel September 29, 2021 Proposal
The importance of packaging. Contrary to what we might like to believe, people do buy books by their covers. Neatness and eye appeal count. A proposal that is hard to handle or is not professional in appearance detracts from the presenter, his or her firm or department, and the overall plan. A few extra hours spent on making the written proposal look good can mean the difference between acceptance and rejection.
Keep your writing professional in tone without being stuffy. Although your reading audience may consist entirely of close associates, that does not mean your proposal can be dashed off like a personal note, full of slang and familiarities. Remember as well that English may not be the first language of everyone who listens to your presentation or reads your proposal. If the circumstance is important enough to call for a formal proposal, it requires a professional level of attention.
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.
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.
It is to your distinct advantage to follow all the instructions that are available, especially if you must submit your proposal by mail and will not have the opportunity to make a personal presentation. Standard form RFPs enable reviewers to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. If a reader must hunt through your document in order to find a critical point, he or she may instead prefer to toss the document aside. After all, the reviewer may think, if this person ca not even follow our directions, how can we expect a satisfactory outcome from the project?
Laser print your document using an easy-to-read typeface. Serif type is much more readable than sans serif. Ten-point is probably a large enough type size unless you know that one or more reviewers has difficulty reading small print-then go up to 11- or 12-point. Do not justify (align) the right-hand margin of your text. True, it looks neater, but it is much harder to read, especially if your printer leaves gaping spaces between words.
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