Natasha O'sullivan December 28, 2021 Proposal
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.
Try to avoid using jargon, acronyms, and insider terms. Instead of making you sound more intelligent and knowledgeable, they can obstruct the communications process and produce a contrary effect. For example, although you feel sure your audience knows what you are talking about, there is always the chance that one member of the group reviewing your proposal may misunderstand an expression. Or perhaps he or she may simply never have heard a particular term and is reluctant to ask for clarification. Unbeknownst to you, that person may be someone who ultimately has a strong influence over whether your proposal is accepted or rejected.
The first relates to the project`s overall goal. If you are clear in your written and oral presentations, your audience will know precisely what accomplishments they can expect to see upon completion of the project. The second question is a little more difficult to answer because you may wish to state incremental and final results without fully revealing your methodology and procedures. Your client or supervisor needs to know what to expect of course. But describing each and every step of your performance may be overkill and, in some cases, could actually jeopardize your winning the contract or assignment.
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.
Without reading the letter aloud, invite your audience to follow the text as you paraphrase and recap what the letter says. Ask for comments and either respond briefly to them or say that you will discuss their questions later as you reach those points in your presentation. Quickly jot down a note so that you do not forget to do so.
The rest of the story. Graphs, charts, line drawings, time lines, and other illustrations help convey information quickly and logically. Include them in your proposal in ways you think they would best clarify and complement the text, being careful not to separate them physically from the material to which they relate. That is, do not place illustrative items in the appendix because that encourages flipping pages back and forth as you are trying to present your case.
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