Birgit Kuester December 14, 2021 Proposal
Write conversationally. Brief but complete should be your goal. Even if your subject is highly technical, imagine that the person to whom you are writing is sitting across the table from you as you write and you are speaking directly to him or her. We are all a little more careful-more formal-when we write than when we speak, but it serves no good purpose to use flowery language and unnecessarily obscure or pretentious terminology. If there is any doubt whatsoever in your mind that a word or phrase might be misunderstood or foreign to your audience, define it. Those persons who are already familiar with the term will not be offended. Write in complete sentences as much as possible, even when listing numbered or bulleted points.
As you organize your thoughts, make notes of what you need to include and then sort them into the order in which you intend to address each one during the presentation meeting with your client or supervisor. It is best to sort like with like. That is, do not mix company and departmental backgrounds or personal biographies, credentials, and references with your plan of action. Place such support and historical material-evidence of your capabilities-after the plan that you are suggesting.
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.
Because the plan portion represents the meat of your proposal, it should summarize your strategy clearly and include time lines, opportunities for feedback, and provisions both for periodic evaluations and measurement of the end result. Two-way communications are extremely important to the success of most projects and, for that reason, should be built into each procedure and objective. Routine reports and approvals, explicitly provided for within your proposal, will help keep communications open and allay possible concerns during the course of the project. If your project must conform to regulatory standards, tell exactly how tests and verifications will occur. And if time or other constraints are prescribed by outside parties, describe the process you will use to satisfy those requirements.
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.
Your proposal is a business document. Do not stick it into a drugstore folder that makes it look like a term paper. Stapling a half dozen or fewer pages together is all right; if the whole document runs longer than that, place it in an appropriately sized three-ring notebook or add stiff front and back covers and bind it. Three-ring, spiral, and plastic comb bindings are inexpensive and allow the book to lie flat when opened.