Birgit Kuester December 27, 2021 Proposal
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.
All is not lost, however. Obstructionists can be very useful during your presentation because they raise issues and objections that you can effectively respond to and neutralize-especially when you are prepared to do so. Without overplaying or pandering to a troublesome member of your audience, accept criticism appreciatively and graciously and build upon it, emphasizing the positive points you are presenting.
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.
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.
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.
At this point, you will have completed the first draft of your proposal. Congratulations! Now for the finishing touches. Have a qualified proofreader or editor read through your draft and fix any grammatical or spelling errors. It is always best to enlist someone who is not familiar with your ideas to do this. That person is much more likely to catch errors and ask important questions than someone who knows your proposal well. It would be especially embarrassing to submit an error-ridden proposal for an education project, would not it? After the words are perfect, make sure each page looks good, too. You might want to use visual details like splashes of color in titles or special bullet points to add interest, but keep the overall look professional.