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Showing posts from June, 2019

Bid & Proposal Professional’s Survival Kit

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Bid and proposals can be a tough profession, and sometimes we need a little extra motivation and support to help us through the chaos. I love this Bid & Proposal Professional’s Survival Kit—I generated it using inspiration from similar survival kits out there for other professions. This is a great little kit you can put together to brighten a coworker’s day, to use for holiday give exchanges in the office, or to welcome a new coworker to the team. I have personally used a version of this survival kit in several office holiday gift exchanges. And if you’re needing just a little extra motivation yourself, I’ve included a few extra words of encouragement with each item below for this week’s blog.


Marker: To remind you to leave a good mark—with your team and with the customer. As bid and proposal professionals, we have the ability to influence our teams, our coworkers, and our customer. It is critical for us to use this influence thoughtfully and conscientiously. We must lead our team…

Proposals and the Art of Persuasion: How we can Apply Aristotle’s Three Rhetorical Appeals

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What is a proposal other than a persuasive document? If you’ve studied the art of rhetoric or persuasion, you’ll know that many of the principles we apply today originated with some of the great Greek philosophers, particularly Aristotle. Dating from the 4th century BCE, Aristotle’s Rhetoric discusses three means of persuasion: ethos, logos, and pathos. If you have read my article on the “Seven Cs of Proposal Writing,” you might recognize that these directly align to three of my Seven C’s: Ethos: those grounded in credibility (Credible)Logos: those grounded in the patterns of reasoning (Compelling)Pathos: those grounded in the emotions or psychology of the audience (Customer Focus)Ethos (Credible) The direct translation of ethos is “ethics.” Ethos refers to what makes the bidding organization credible. In your proposals, you should aim to establish ethos by using rhetorical devices that will make you appear credible: Use the appropriate language for your customerDesign/present your pro…

Aligning Proposal Development with the Standard 5-Step Writing Process

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Proposal writing can be stressful. We often yank authors away from their day jobs, or worse, ask them to perform both tasks at the same time. What’s more, we throw all of these foreign terms at them: Pink Team, Red Team, and Gold Team. It can be overwhelming for even the seasoned proposal professional!
Sometimes it can be helpful to step back and break thing down into terms that may be more familiar to your authors. For example, most authors will have seen the standard 5-step writing process before. In this week’s article, I’ve aligned the proposal development process to the standard 5-Step Writing Process; the one I used for this post is published by the University of Kansas (KU) Writing Center.
STEP 1: PREWRITING Think & Decide
Make sure you understand your assignment. Before you dive into writing the section, you should review the limitations of your assigned task. Consider things such as your page limits and relevant RFP sections to address. You should also review and understand…

Proposal Soft Skills: How To Leverage Dale Carnegie’s Best Seller to Get What You Need

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This year at Bid and Proposal Con 2019, I had the honor of participating in Kristin Dufrene’s panel, “How to Win and Influence People,” inspired by her own experiences as well as Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. Mr. Carnegie’s book covers some of the soft skills necessary to succeed in life and in business. These soft skills are critical in the world of proposals—from the writer up through the management level.
Not surprisingly, Kristin’s panel had a great turnout. A summary of our presentation was even featured on APMP’s Winning the Business. Another testament to the criticality of these soft skills are the courses being offered to help teams better hone them. For example, Kevin Switaj’s company, BZ Opportunity Management, offers an extremely popular course, “SoftSkills for Proposal Professionals.”
In this week’s article, I summarize Mr. Carnegie’s book and principles, and I discuss my journey with developing these soft skills and learning how to successfull…

What Exactly is this AI Thing? And What Does it Mean for the World of Proposals?

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a hot topic in the proposal field right now. In the last year or so, the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) has hosted multiple webinars on AI at both the international and chapter levels. At Bid and Proposal Con 2019, there were even back-to-back sessions dedicated to the topic—and I was honored to share some of my own insights as part of in Karthik Koutharapu’s panel, “Leveraging AI for Persuasive Proposal Writing.”
From the audience and panelist reactions to the various questions, it’s clear that many of us have some angst about the potential negative effects on the industry. But some of us are more optimistic about the ways AI may be able to improve our work-life balance. In this article, I provide an overview of AI and present some of the ways I am hopeful that it will improve our industry.
What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)? AI is the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require hu…