Sophie Moench August 22, 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.
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.
After you have written one proposal, you will find that the next one is easier and faster to write, and that you can re-use a lot of the same information in multiple proposals. But is important to customize each one to the specific recipient; that`s the difference between proposal writing and mass marketing.
Break up gray pages of solid type with bullets and lists that draw the reader`s eye to important points. Keep margins fairly wide (1½" is sufficient) to enable your audience to make notes. Number the pages so that you can easily direct your listeners to particular information.
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.
Lead, do not read. Do not read to your listeners what they have before them on the printed page and are perfectly capable of reading themselves. Instead, rephrase, paraphrase, and elaborate as you describe the text in terms of concepts, procedures, and strategy. Before beginning your presentation, mark up a copy of your proposal with comments and amplifications of important points. Be cautious, however, about expanding on a topic in such a way that you commit yourself to actions outside the scope of your proposal.
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