Sarah Neudorf August 29, 2021 Proposal
Every word processing system includes a spell checker; it is there to be used. But do not depend upon it exclusively; proofread your work before submitting it. The best way to do that is to allow the proposal to sit for a day or two and then to read it aloud. You might also want to ask an associate to go over it before you make your presentation.
As you lay out your plan, try to keep in mind a couple of questions that your audience may not ask but will certainly be thinking: "What can we expect as a minimum outcome of your work?" and "What steps will you follow, and how will we know you (and we) are on target?"
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.
As you move through your presentation, speak conversationally to those around you. Remember that you are not lecturing to a university class or speaking to a Rotary Club. Your presentation is a business process-even though you may be demonstrating your technical know-how-and you are endeavoring to win a contract or an assignment. It won`t be possible for you to perform as an expert-the person or company right for this job-unless you receive the go-ahead from your audience. Much more depends at this point upon your ability to express how you intend to apply your expertise than what that expertise actually is.
Take care to avoid inadvertently implying commitments for actions other than those specifically stated within your plan. Do not, for example, allow an inference to be drawn that you will supply certain materials, personnel, documentation, training, or ongoing support if you do not intend to do so. Likewise, be cautious during your presentation about committing to oral agreements that are not contained in the written proposal. It is perfectly acceptable-even advisable-to outline both your obligations and those of the individual or company to whom you are submitting your proposal. Better to discuss and agree upon such items at the time of the proposal presentation than to face misunderstandings down the road.
It is to your distinct advantage to follow all the instructions that are available, especially if you must submit your proposal by mail and will not have the opportunity to make a personal presentation. Standard form RFPs enable reviewers to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. If a reader must hunt through your document in order to find a critical point, he or she may instead prefer to toss the document aside. After all, the reviewer may think, if this person ca not even follow our directions, how can we expect a satisfactory outcome from the project?
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