Communication Skills

JS Tip 117: From the Proposal-Writing Workshops: Five Tips (to Start With)

Monica Schwenk of Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College asked about proposal writing.

Here are our first five suggestions. We’ll follow up with five more suggestions next week:

1.   Read the Request for Proposal (the RFP) carefully. (Ask for an electronic version. Make a copy and store the original. Use your copy to break out the parts. List everything you're supposed to do—in the order you're supposed to do it.) 

2.   Fulfill every part of the RFP to the letter. (Compliance is a first measure.) 

3.   Tailor the proposal to the client. It cannot—cannot, cannot—be a boilerplate proposal. Address their needs: How can you ease their pain? Their difficulty? This is probably the most important of all the suggestions.  

4.   Learn and use desktop-publishing software (like Adobe InDesign) rather than word-processing software (like MicroSoft Word). It's worth it. Your document will look better—and create a better, a more professional, impression.   

5.   Make your proposal look good. Use lots of white space. Open up your document. Use short paragraphs. Use lists.

We appreciate Monica’s inquiry. Monica: thank you.

If you’ve got questions about proposal-writing (or anything else), let us know. We’re here to help.

We love this stuff. Next week: Five more suggestions on proposal-writing.