Heike Moeller December 3, 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.
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.
The problem and the plan. The primary section of the proposal describes the problem or project as you see it. That bears repeating: State your understanding of the need and circumstances that prompted your submitting the proposal. Explain the rationale for action. That is, tell your audience what their problem is and why they need your expertise and assistance. Do not assume they know. Define the scope of the undertaking and the solutions and goals you intend to achieve, describing each in terms of discrete objectives.
If you choose to use a flip chart, PowerPoint, overhead or slide projector, VCR, computer screen, or some other demonstration aid, practice ahead of time so that your presentation proceeds smoothly. And, of course, check your equipment before the meeting to see that it is functioning properly. In the event you run into trouble with your display tools, do not take more than a minute or so trying to make corrections or you will lose your audience. Instead, be prepared to proceed without audio/visual assistance.
In the first case, try to vary your presentation style somewhat from the initial meeting. Some of the previous group may be present, and if you run through your proposal the same way you did the first time, you may sound canned and flat. A fresh approach is much more likely to hold the interest of everyone in the room.
Proposal writing packages can make your proposal writing and formatting easier. A pre-designed proposal kit will include hundreds of templates, including all the ones mentioned above. You can find a page for almost any topic. The writing and details to include are up to you, but each template in a kit includes examples and instructions that remind you of typical information for that topic, so you will feel like you have a guide throughout the writing process.
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