Birgit Kuester December 14, 2021 Proposal
Be aware that there may be a hidden audience whom you never see or even know about who reads your proposal after you have made your presentation; the CFO or comptroller who ultimately approves all invoices might be an example. Will that person(s) understand every point it contains without hearing you explain, "What that really means is this..."? Also remember that portions of the text may be read aloud. If a member of your audience asks, "What is our duty here where it says...," he or she should be able to read the passage smoothly without stumbling over a series of stilted phrases or hard-to-pronounce words or sounds.
Keeping the group together is sometimes difficult but always necessary. Just one person who insists upon leafing through the pages and making off-the-point comments and observations can quickly disrupt the flow of your presentation. You might ask him or her to make notes of items for clarification so that you can address each one at the conclusion of your presentation.
Stay away from artsy typefaces and fonts and complicated page layouts. More often than not they only confuse the reader. Many proposal writers nowadays use formatting or desktop publishing programs for page design. Unless you are familiar with page makeup techniques, though, it is best to leave that kind of design to the professionals. And exercise some restraint in using charts and graphs to illustrate every individual item you describe. Sometimes a clearly written explanation works better than a graphic that you had to strain to create.
Cover letter. Because it tells your understanding of the project and states that you are the right person, department, or company to do the job, the cover letter is the most important element of the proposal; it is also the very last item to prepare before you make your presentation. Keep it short, no more than one page. State the problem in a sentence or two and tell what you intend to do about it. Do not forget to express your appreciation for the opportunity to submit your proposal.
Similarly, if you encounter strong objections to the total cost, ask which parts of the proposal your audience thinks may be beyond its budget. Be prepared for some on-the-spot negotiations that will enable you to eliminate or make substitutions for items that are not deemed essential by your client or supervisor. Going into a proposal presentation without knowledge of alternatives is extremely disadvantageous for you and makes you appear unprepared.
The summary is not a substitute for the proposal itself. Rather, it is a quick and concise reference to what the proposal contains. Sometimes called an abstract, outline, or précis, the summary is a condensed statement of what the full proposal contains. During a personal presentation, it is useful both as an introduction and a wrap-up. Later on if it becomes necessary to return to the proposal for clarification of certain points, the summary serves as a convenient memory jogger. For these reasons you might consider using bulleted points when formatting your summary.