Be clear, concise and correct when writing your bids. Don’t make readers think about what you are trying to say. Get to the point and use the simplest words possible.
Proposal contributors often make several fundamental errors when writing. All these errors lead to the same outcome; a document that is harder to read, which gets scored lower. Some of the most common mistakes include:
Jargon: Industry-specific language that isolates that lay reader. Many tender evaluators aren’t subject matter experts, so jargon may as well be another language.
Gobbledygook: Like jargon, is an unnecessarily complex way of writing something. If readers feel like they need a dictionary on hand to review your bid, you are making their life hard.
Clichés: Worn-out phrases that have lost their meaning; “In the loop”, “Moving the goal post”, “Goes without saying”. Terms such as these are open to interpretation and make your proposal vague.
Redundant words: Unnecessary words that add nothing to your proposal. These words make your proposal longer than it needs to be, making more work for your evaluator.
Proposals aren’t an opportunity for you to demonstrate how good your vocabulary is, they are a document designed to help you win work. To be effective, they must be efficient, and they need to make the evaluators life easy. How you write is critically important.
Tips for improving your writing:
*Don’t overthink what you are trying to say.
*Get someone unrelated to read it. Try: your partner, your children (as young as thirteen or fourteen), someone from a non-technical part of the business. If they don’t understand it on the first read, you need to revise it.
*Use MS Word’s “Refinements” option. This function is reasonably good at spotting clumsy language and redundant words.
*Consider other software, such as Grammarly. Grammarly allows you to choose the purpose and audience of a document and will offer suggestions accordingly.
Anyone can become a proficient proposal writer, but it takes practice. The really good writers have been developing their craft for years or decades. You should also consider whether your business could benefit from an in-house proposal writer or freelance support. It can save you time, money and improve the quality of your bids.