Welcome to Proposal May-hem, our annual tradition of posting anything and everything proposal related in the month of May to coincide with our attendance of the annual APMP (Association of Proposal Management Professionals) Bid and Proposal Conference. Lets kick this thing off and coincidentally our first topic will be “How to Prepare for a Kick-Off Meeting”
So an RFP has dropped into your world and you know your team is going to respond and planning must begin as soon as possible. Many people’s first thought is great, lets have a kick -off meeting and get the ball rolling but is that the right thing to do? Put simply, No. A kick off meeting is far too often a disorganized hodgepodge of ideas, differing opinions and unclear objectives which many times then requires a second “kick-off” meeting to actually get down to business. In the proposal world that is a waste of time that just won’t be tolerated. Lets now discuss a few key tasks that must be accomplished BEFORE the kick-off meeting.
APMP Bid & Proposal Con is the world’s largest event for proposal, bid, tender, capture, business development and graphics professionals. Global industry players come to APMP Bid & Proposal Con seeking tested information, proven strategies, and best practices to help capture, write, produce, manage proposals and increase win rates. They attend to gain:
- Hands-on education & certification
- Insight & cutting-edge content from industry leaders and inspiring keynotes
- Networking opportunities
If you would like to learn more please visit APMP Bid & Proposal Con 2016
DATE: May 26 – 28, 2016
WHERE: Boston, Massachusetts
EVENT: APMP Bid & Proposal Con 2016
I’m sure most of us have seen a proposal, email or any number of business documents that are so filled with jargon that they have either lost their core purpose or are so convoluted that they become completely useless. Jargon is defined by dictionary.com as:
“Language that is characterized by uncommon or pretentious vocabulary and convoluted syntax and is often vague in meaning”
How can you alter the style and tone of your documents to ensure you are aligned with your objective? Before we get too deep, lets first talk about the difference between style and tone. Style, according to Wheaton College, can be defined as “the way in which something is written, as opposed to the meaning of what is written.” This would include the type of document you are writing, the typeface, the font size, the use of graphics, the spacing of the margins, etc etc etc. Tone on the other hand refers to the attitude of what is being written or the impression you are trying to convey to your audience.
Dr. Lynell Burmark, an associate at the Thornburg Center for Professional Development said, “…unless our words, concepts, ideas are hooked onto an image, they will go in one ear, sail through the brain, and go out the other ear. Words are processed by our short-term memory where we can only retain about 7 bits of information (plus or minus 2) … Images, on the other hand, go directly into long-term memory where they are indelibly etched.”
In a very interesting article entitled The Power of Visual Communication by Mike Parkinson, he brings to light that “according to a 3M-sponsored study at the University of Minnesota School of Management it was found that presenters who use visual aids are 43% more effective in persuading audience members to take a desired course of action than presenters who don’t use visuals.” So if the aim of graphics is persuasion, a proposal should be the first place to use graphics.
Cost and Price – it all boils down to this doesn’t it? How you price your services is a key factor in winning proposals. But just deciding on a price isn’t enough; the client needs to be convinced that the cost and price that you offer is justified. This entails a lot more than typing out a figure at the back of your proposal or adding an appendix. As in all things, presentation is key.
Let us keep in mind that there are instances when you do not need to and in some cases aren’t permitted to reveal your cost and pricing data. Talking about Government contracts, you can check out this blog which details some of those exceptions.
We will look at 5 things to keep in mind when presenting cost and price data.
“My fear now is of cliche, of complacency, of not being able to feel authenticity in myself and those around me.” – John Hawkes
At the cost of sounding clichéd (pun intended) here is an excerpt from a blog by Jayme Sokolow, the recipient of Fellows Award and a Vision Award from the Association of Proposal Management Professionals for his contributions to the proposal profession. We found this hilarious but completely true:
Best of breed
If you are not selling puppies, why claim that your solution is the “best of breed?” The phrase comes from the world of show dogs.
Xait is pleased to announce attendance as exhibitors at the 2nd annual UK APMP Conference starting October 13th 2010.
The theme for this year is “Making a Splash – Clear thinking, refreshing solutions”.
UKAPMP hold regular friendly networking events covering interesting and relevant subjects from how to engage with current procurement practice, to the art and science of pitching. The conference takes place at the Nottingham Bellfry, Nottingham. Xait is working closely with the APMP community in the ongoing development of XaitPorter – an industry standard proposal software. All Xait’s are Accredited members of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals. Feel free to contact us at the event to learn how you can reduce costs when producing proposals and tenders by using XaitPorter.