How to write effective and convincing proposals

As an engineer you will at one point be required to write proposals. These documents might be RFPs, contract negotiation or request for financing for a project. Whichever one you might be tasked with writing, you should be concise and cover all the pertinent details. This guide provides several tips on how you should approach any proposal writing task.

1. Be clear of the outcomes

Before you start writing a proposal, ask yourself several times what you intend the results will be. Most of the proposals sound like statements rather than conveying what is being offered. The results should be very objective and should be quantifiable. Writing an effective proposal will become easier once you are able to quantify the results and make it sound like a selling point.

2. Have a central theme for your proposal

From the results that you have envisaged, the strongest result will be the theme of the proposal. Think from the perspective of the organization or the recipient of the proposal and find out what will be the most beneficial result for them. Once the recipient sees the benefit, you will have no problems in getting the proposal through. Most proposals get rejected because you think more about benefits to you rather than for the recipient.

3. Be concise

No one has the time to read through hundreds of pages. An effective proposal should be brief and concise. Come to your point quickly, maybe after a brief introduction. Most studies have shown that business managers read only the introduction and the conclusion. Make both strong and use effective words to make the impact. The conclusion should very subtly point to the benefits the recipient will enjoy accepting the proposal.

4. Give it a life

Give examples while writing the proposal. If the same proposal has improved another organization, quantify the results and present it in your proposal. Business managers are impressed with figures and give them figures to calculate wherever possible. An effective proposal will be liven up with lot of benefits. Count the benefits before you send out the proposal.

5. Rewrite

As you write, you will feel like you have written the most effective proposal. Let the proposal sit for at least 24 hours and then read it again. You will notice areas, which are not as effective. Rewrite these specific areas. You may to continue this exercise a number of times until you are satisfied that it is as effective as it can get.  It is also a good idea to periodically have fresh sets of eyes looking at the proposal to give you additional insights.

6. Cost figures

You need to keep the financials simple and easy to understand. Not all recipients will have a thorough knowledge of the financial terms and will be only looking at how much they will have to shell out and what benefit they will derive. If you give too many ratios and figures, it is very unlikely that the recipient will get interested in the proposal. The pricing should only convey what is the total cost of the solution you are providing.

By spending some time in research and prioritizing the points to be put in the proposal, you can generate an effective proposal. Using clean and simple language in a brief and concise report will help you in writing effective proposals.

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