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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Past is Prologue:  How to Win With Past Performance

The Past is Prologue: How to Win With Past Performance

In a typical proposal to a federal agency, companies must demonstrate that they (1) have a sound technical solution or product that will address the challenges described in the Request for Proposal (RFP); and that they (2) have successful experience in previous contracts doing similar work. In other words, proposals are finely balanced between the […]

For a More Productive Life as a Proposal Professional, Daydream at Work More Often

For a More Productive Life as a Proposal Professional, Daydream at Work More Often

In 1990, a young researcher for Amnesty International was stuck on a train between London and Manchester, staring out of the window for hours as the other passengers busily read newspapers, books, and magazines and tried to work. No doubt many thought this individual was a dreamy, unproductive person with nothing better to do than […]

Can a New York Times Bestseller Help You Become a Better Proposal Professional?

Can a New York Times Bestseller Help You Become a Better Proposal Professional?

Can a New York Times bestseller help you become a better proposal professional? I am not talking about the latest novel from James Patterson or Stephen King but Atul Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right (2010). Over the holidays, I read this book and found many ideas in it that we proposal […]

Tis’ the Season:  Ten Ways to Appear Alert and Smart at Proposal Meetings

Tis’ the Season: Ten Ways to Appear Alert and Smart at Proposal Meetings

Most of us would like to believe that the meetings we lead as Proposal Managers are lively, engaging, brief, and inspiring. However, I seriously doubt if attendees hold the same high opinion of our meeting skills as we do. So, inspired by an article in the Huffington Post by Sarah Cooper on “10 Tricks to […]

Want to Improve Your Proposals?  Go Take a Walk!

Want to Improve Your Proposals? Go Take a Walk!

In the proposal field, we like to boast about how we pulled an all-nighter to finish a $100 million bid or the time we worked for 36 hours on a proposal minus a four-hour nap under our desks. We expect to spend long hours on proposals and are proud of our fortitude and ability to […]

How Much Do You Really Notice in Proposal Development?

How Much Do You Really Notice in Proposal Development?

We all would like to believe that we are extremely observant and highly rational, especially when it comes to proposal development. Alas, there is little evidence for this in proposal development…or any other of our endeavors. Over the last few decades, scholars in applied behaviour psychology and economics such as Cass Sunstein, Daniel Kahnemann, and […]

Why It’s Important to Tell Great Stories in Your Proposals

Why It’s Important to Tell Great Stories in Your Proposals

Put yourself in the place of the reviewers of your proposal. You have been asked to review proposals in the midst of your daily responsibilities. You probably do not know much about the procurement opportunity. Perhaps you have not had much time to read the RFP. And to add to your uncertainty, you cannot really […]