Brigitte Werfel December 26, 2021 Proposal
The purpose of the proposal. Your proposal is a sales tool and should be used as such. It is a declaration of what you plan to do for your client or your supervisor as well as confirmation that you are the right person, department, or company to undertake the project. It should be well thought out, clearly written, adequately illustrated, and professionally presented. Anything less diminishes your chances of obtaining the job. No matter how competent you are and capable of doing the work, the simple truth is that you may not get the opportunity to demonstrate your skills if you prepare and present a proposal that fails to speak well of you.
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.
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.
Boilerplate has a limited shelf life. It grows stale and out of date before you realize it. Absolutely no less often than every six months you should review each one of the sections that you routinely include with your proposals. Do not rely upon an assistant to do this job for you because he or she may not have sufficiently current knowledge. Also, it`s you who are going to make the presentation to your client or supervisor, and, therefore, it`s you who will need to explain erroneous, incomplete, or perhaps even confidential information that somehow crept into your proposal.
The importance of packaging. Contrary to what we might like to believe, people do buy books by their covers. Neatness and eye appeal count. A proposal that is hard to handle or is not professional in appearance detracts from the presenter, his or her firm or department, and the overall plan. A few extra hours spent on making the written proposal look good can mean the difference between acceptance and rejection.
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.