Write Better Proposals by Studying the Craft

Write Better Proposals by Studying the Craft

Writing good proposals is difficult because writing well is difficult. Unfortunately, too many of us have trouble writing really good proposals because there are many constraints in our jobs and in our lives to writing well. The best way to improve your ability to write good proposals is to write and be thoughtfully critiqued. The […]

Want to Be a Better Proposal Professional?  Don’t Work in a Open-Office Environment

Want to Be a Better Proposal Professional? Don’t Work in a Open-Office Environment

To a great extent, your workplace environment helps determine you productivity. Hands down, probably the worst environment for a proposal professional – or anybody else – is an open-office environment. According to a recent study from the International Facility Management Association, about 70 percent of U.S. companies have no or low partitions. In other words, […]

How Proposal Professionals Can Improve their Communications Skills

How Proposal Professionals Can Improve their Communications Skills

As I see it, there are two critically important elements in effective proposal development: good processes and good communications skills. It is easier to develop good processes because good communications are a function of our personalities and our social skills as proposal professionals. According to Adam Grant in his bestseller – Give and Take: Why […]

Tis’ the Humorous Season:  My 5 Habits of Highly Unproductive Proposal Professionals

Tis’ the Humorous Season: My 5 Habits of Highly Unproductive Proposal Professionals

French schoolchildren still read the fables of La Fontaine. One of his most famous is the “Ant and the Grasshopper,” which drives home the moral that the ant’s busy industry is rewarded with comfort and a full larder, while the grasshopper, who sits on a blade of grass singing to the sun, cannot provide for […]

Want to be a Better Proposal Professional?  Take (More) Naps!

Want to be a Better Proposal Professional? Take (More) Naps!

We proposal professionals take great pride in the number of consecutive hours we can work on a proposal. Sit down with proposal managers, and inevitably we start telling stories about our incredible physical feats of wakefulness. “I worked 24 straight hours on a proposal with only breaks for meals,” one person will say. Another will […]

Should We Judge Proposals the Same Way as We Judge People?

Should We Judge Proposals the Same Way as We Judge People?

Should we judge proposals the same way we judge people? Perhaps the answer should be “yes.” According to Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist in the Harvard University Business School and the author of Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges (2015), first impressions are very important. People size us up in seconds, but […]

How can Proposal Professionals Learn to Shift their Perspectives?

How can Proposal Professionals Learn to Shift their Perspectives?

Bookstores are full of business advice books about how to become more creative. Although the advice varies, it usually involves learning to shift your perspective so that you see your tasks and challenges in new ways. For proposal professionals, this often involves brainstorming meetings about win themes, proposal strategy, storyboarding, and the like. However, there […]

Want to be a Better Proposal Professional?  Learn to be a Great Listener

Want to be a Better Proposal Professional? Learn to be a Great Listener

I meet few people who claim to be below-average listeners, but in our most candid moments we probably all admit to ourselves that listening is a great skill that we probably could do better. Why? The answer is easy – listening has a great effect on our job performance. If you cannot listen, you cannot […]

Good Strategies for Winning Proposals in 2016

Good Strategies for Winning Proposals in 2016

We are all prognosticators, and advice has always been easy and cheap, indicating that often it of little value. Nonetheless, there are trends in Federal contracting that do point to several clear-cut winning proposal strategies in 2016. My advice, inexpensive as it is, comes from the January 2016 “Practitioner Perspectives” of Wolf Den Associates in […]

Tis’ the Humorous Season:  My Ten Ironclad Rules for Writing a Truly Bad Proposal

Tis’ the Humorous Season: My Ten Ironclad Rules for Writing a Truly Bad Proposal

Because this is a relentlessly upbeat time of the year, I would like to pour a bucket of cold water onto anyone who thinks they have mastered the art and science of writing a good proposal. Bah, humbug, as Scrooge might have groused. And in the spirit of Scrooge, I have decided to provide ten […]