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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Completing Reports and Proposals By: Nicole Neil

As for the organization of the content of a proposal, remember that it is essentially a sales, or promotional kind of thing. Here are the basic steps it goes through:
  1. You introduce the proposal, telling the readers its purpose and contents.
  2. You present the background—the problem, opportunity, or situation that brings about the proposed project. Get the reader concerned about the problem, excited about the opportunity, or interested in the situation in some way.
  3. State what you propose to do about the problem, how you plan to help the readers take advantage of the opportunity, how you intend to help them with the situation.
  4. Discuss the benefits of doing the proposed project, the advantages that come from approving it.
  5. Describe exactly what the completed project would consist of, what it would look like, how it would work—describe the results of the project.
  6. Discuss the method and theory or approach behind that method—enable readers to understand how you'll go about the proposed work.
  7. Provide a schedule, including major milestones or checkpoints in the project.
  8. Briefly list your qualifications for the project; provide a mini-resume of the background you have that makes you right for the project.
  9. Now (and only now), list the costs of the project, the resources you'll need to do the project.
  10. Conclude with a review of the benefits of doing the project, and urge the audience to get in touch or to accept the proposal.
There are different formats for a proposal:

  • Cover memo with separate proposal: In this format, you write a brief "cover" memo and attach the proposal proper after it. The cover memo briefly announces that a proposal follows and outlines the contents of it. In fact, the contents of the cover memo are pretty much the same as the introduction. The proposal proper that repeats much of what's in the cover memo. This is because the memo may get detached from the proposal or the reader may not even bother to look at the memo and just dive right into the proposal itself.

  • Business-letter proposal: In this format, you put the entire proposal within a standard business letter. You include headings and other special formatting elements as if it were a report.

  • Memo proposal: In this format, you put the entire proposal within a standard office memorandum. You include headings and other special formatting elements as if it were a report.

  • While trying to complete and finalize your report or proposal you may want to take these suggestions and apply them to your paper.

  • Break out the costs section into specifics; include hourly rates and other such details. Don't just hit them with a whopping big final cost.

  • For internal projects, don't omit the section on costs and qualifications: there will be costs, just not direct ones. For example, how much time will you need, will there be printing, binding costs? Include your qualifications—imagine your proposal will go to somebody in the organization who doesn't know you.

  • Be sure and address the proposal to the real or realistic audience—not your instructor. (You can use your instructor's name as the CEO or supervisor of the organization you are sending the proposal to.)

  •  Yes, some of your proposal readers may know the technical side of your project—but others may not. Challenge yourself to bring difficult technical concepts down to a level that nonspecialists can understand.

  • Be sure to include all the information listed in "Special assignment requirements." If it doesn't logically or naturally fit in the proposal itself, put it in a memo to your instructor.

  • Have a great day at work and remember B.N.G. Consultants is always here to help...


    Excellence in Business Communication/ John V. Thill, Courtland L. Bovee. 9th edition

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