Help Readers Get Through Your Proposal—Part One

A key to a successful marketing document is to keep the reader reading! One way to achieve this is to make your proposal easy to get through. This should drive your writing style.

Try to achieve a “clear” style. Most of us know clear writing when we see it, though it may be hard for us to define it. Clear writing is

  • Easy to read
  • Efficient
  • Easy to understand

Clear writing makes it easy on the readers; they can see what you’re getting at quickly, and they do not have to waste time trying to figure it out. This will make them happier. And that’s what you want.

Write to express, not impress. We are often more concerned with how something sounds than with what it means.

“We will conduct this task in the most expeditious manner possible.”

“To facilitate our work during this effort we will augment our staff by three.”

These sentences are burdened with extra words, or words that the writer chose because they somehow sounded more “sophisticated.” These words, though, get in the readers’ way as they try to get through the proposal.

“We will complete this task within five days after project start-up.”

This is a simple way of saying the same thing. Plus, it is much more specific than the original (and could even be a benefit).

“To meet the tight schedule, we will add three engineers to our project team.”

The simpler, the better.

Readers will quickly tire of wading through paragraphs filled with “impressive” words. Eventually, they’ll quit trying. And the last thing you want is for an evaluator to quit reading your proposal out of sheer exhaustion.