Today I have been writing a proposal document for a potential new project. I know of many freelancers and people running their own companies who don’t enjoy this part of being independent, but I quite enjoy it. Maybe I would feel different if I had to complete a formal, structured tender process. Or if I had to write these things too often and without any return. But for me, this is a process that sums up a lot of the things I enjoy about my work on a bigger scale and, of course, writing a proposal is in itself a communication, so that makes it right up my street too!
The elements that I enjoy and that I think make a bigger point about communication are:
- The process starts with a conversation. I speak to the person who has a problem they would like me to help them solve and they tell me what’s been happening and what they are hoping for in the future. It’s really important that I listen very carefully to what they are saying – and sometimes to what they’re not saying or what they are showing through their body language.
- To make sure that I fully understand what they are looking for, I have to ask lots of questions to elicit as much relevant information as possible and make sure that I really get what they’re telling me.
Once I start putting together a proposal, I need to be clear on the messages I want to get across – I take the sometimes complicated, often diverse, information that my potential client has provided and turn that into a coherent solution.
- I need to keep in mind what I know about my audience. When they talked me through the situation and what they are looking for, they will have spoken about the things that are important to them and used language and terminology that resonates. I have to make sure that I reflect those topics and words back to them, so that they see themselves and their organisation in my solution.
- The proposal document has to be well-written – it would be a shame to pay attention to the right terminology and then distract the reader with clunky sentences or grammatical errors. As a demonstration of my writing skills, it is an immediate advert for my work.
- These last points are all about achieving my desired outcome: a positive response that sees me working on the project and helping the client to solve their problem. Knowing from the start what I hope to achieve is crucial for crafting the best possible proposal that benefits both me and my client.
Hopefully I have ably covered all these points today and I will be starting work on a new project in the coming weeks. If you would like me to write a proposal for how I could solve a communication problem you are experiencing, please get in touch.
Until next time