Heike Moeller September 24, 2021 Proposal
Unplating the boiler. Many proposal writers pick up previously written standard wording-often called boilerplate-for portions of their proposals. There`s certainly nothing wrong with such a practice. It saves time and eliminates errors...or does it?
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.
Where do I start? After initial pleasantries are out of the way, start your presentation with your cover letter. I is your personal introduction to your audience, evidence that you understand the need for the project you are describing, and your statement that you are the right person or company to do the job. Call attention to the letter, physically take it from the proposal-remember, it should not be bound into the proposal itself-and hold it in both hands in front of you. That`s the cue for everyone else in the room to do likewise. They will do it if you do it.
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.
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.
As you organize your thoughts, make notes of what you need to include and then sort them into the order in which you intend to address each one during the presentation meeting with your client or supervisor. It is best to sort like with like. That is, do not mix company and departmental backgrounds or personal biographies, credentials, and references with your plan of action. Place such support and historical material-evidence of your capabilities-after the plan that you are suggesting.
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