Tuesday, January 4, 2011

4 Tips on How to Write a Winning Proposal

How a proposal is written is just as important—if not more—than the content itself. If distracted by the format, wording, or organization of the proposal, the client may not even take the time to consider what your firm has to say.

Consider these four key elements to draft a well-written proposal and keep the client reading:

1. Sentence structure - Sentences should be clear and concise. Longer sentences may often be necessary, but a good test is to go back over the material and see how many sentences can be cut down. Mixing long and short sentences improves the rhythm. Word length is a good gauge of readability.

2. Word choice - Remember, you are writing for the client, not yourselves. Avoid technical jargon and use terminology that the client is familiar with (Not a problem if you’ve done your research and understand your client!). Use action words whenever appropriate (i.e. “We will complete the project on time.”), as well as simple, present and future tense verbs.

3. Voice - The right voice of your proposal will keep the reader engaged—always use the active voice. Remember, it is essential to avoid appearing arrogant. Rather than saying, “This is the way to do it,” say “Our experience shows. . .”

4. Grammar - During the drafts of the proposal, have a strong editor review it looking for inconsistencies in content, format and style and grammatical and typographical errors. Typos make a proposal look unprofessional and thrown together.

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