Don't Put Them to Sleep

Federal proposals, in response to Requests for Proposals, tend to be dry, dry, dry- including the last proposal standing (the winner). Even authors of books on how to write creatively frequently write dry prose. This happens for a number of reasons. To begin with, the critical solution part of the proposal is usually written by technical staff who wish they were somewhere other than on the proposal team. In addition, federal proposal evaluators really don't want to read anyone's proposal, so you have an uphill battle in trying to get them to read your solution to their problem. In particular, proposals in response to the opportunities you have presold, or if you are the entrenched incumbent, need to be written creatively. That is what defensive proposal writing is all about; leave nothing to chance. Give your fans on the evaluation committee the material they need to make your case.

So, how do you produce creative and interesting to read solution content? By finding the one or two individuals in your organization who have the gift of creative writing. They could have technical or management backgrounds, or one of them might be your proposal manager if you are that lucky. How do you find these people? By listening to them throughout the day as they communicate and present their thoughts. Try to find those bright lights, and give them a try on proposal assignments. What if they run toward the exit and tell you they are over burdened with client work or about to go to Disney Land with their kids? Figure out a way to get them to write solution content, and then read it. You will then know; they either have it, or they don't.

Can this kind of creativity be taught? Maybe, but there better be an underlying gift from above, or I wouldn't spend money on creative writing seminars. Find it through trial and error, and nurture it with money and promotions. This way, your proposals can be the last one standing.

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