Showing posts from September, 2019

The Story Behind Storyboarding, and why it is Critical to Your Proposal Process

Storyboards have long been a part of our standard proposal best practices. We all know that the proposal giants include storyboarding as an integral part of the proposal development process, but where did this concept of storyboards originate? Interestingly, the storyboarding process, in the form we know it today, was actually developed at Walt Disney Productions during the early 1930s! Traditionally, a storyboard is a graphic organizer of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for pre-visualizing a motion picture, animation, or interactive media sequence. The purpose of the storyboard is to visualize the storytelling, focus the story and timing in key frames, and define the technical parameters (e.g., description of the motion, camera, lighting, etc.). Because of the necessity for visual appeal, as well as the desire to present a cohesive “story” in our proposal responses, we adopted this process into our industry standard best practices. Why Storyboarding is Im

Why You Should Always Establish a Proposal-Specific Style Guide

What is a Style Guide? A proposal style guide is a set of standards for the writing, formatting, and design of a proposal. A style guide establishes style requirements to promote consistency within your proposal. Style guides set standards to be used in areas such as punctuation, capitalization, formatting of numbers and dates, table appearance, and other areas. The standards should include conventions from your proposal department’s standard style guide (if it has one), but should also be tailored to the requirements of each individual customer and request for proposal (RFP). Why is it Important to Document a Style Guide? By establishing these guidelines early on with a style guide, proposal writing starts out consistent. Make sure authors review the style guide before they start writing. This will ensure they are using common conventions from the start. How often do we get to Pink or Red Team, and reviewers provide comments such as, “I can’t tell if this is being led

The Great Debate: Are You Team Oxford Comma?

Because they are grammatically optional, Oxford commas are highly debated, and those with an opinion on them tend to have a strong one. The Oxford comma, or serial comma, is an optional comma placed immediately before the coordinating conjunction in a series of three or more items. It's known as the Oxford comma because it was traditionally used by the Oxford University Press. Interestingly, the Associated Press Stylebook (commonly called the AP Stylebook )—the style guide used by newspapers—advises against the use of the Oxford comma. However, many other American style guides require the Oxford comma, including APA style, The Chicago Manual of Style , The MLA Style Manual , Strunk and White's Elements of Style , and the U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual. Those who favor using Oxford commas typically tout their importance in clarifying the meaning of complex lists. Oxford comma champions know that omitting the Oxford comma can lead to confusing

Touchdowns, Field Goals, and RFPs: 5 Things Proposals and Football Have In Common

With the NFL season kicking off on Thursday night, I started considering the similarities between proposals and football. When you start to break it down, besides proposals having a much lower probability for injury, the two are really not all that different. In both proposals and football, the following are all critical to success: preparation, clearly defined roles and responsibilities, and communication. And perhaps the strongest similarity between the two: the ultimate goal of both proposals and football is to score a higher than the competition and win! Preparation is Critical In football, preparation and game planning are critical. Preparing for a football game begins well before the team steps out onto the field. Players and coaches frequently spend weeks learning their opponent’s strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies to develop the best approach for the match-up ahead. Coaches work with the players to define schemes and expectations. Each football game is a differe

Tips for an Effective Proposal Kickoff Meeting

We’ve all been there: the RFP drops and suddenly everyone wants to hold the kickoff meeting—immediately. When this happens, we need to work hard to pump the breaks. Setting up a proposal infrastructure and creating realistic plans are critical to a smooth and low-stress proposal process. This planning process—including setting up a collaborative workspace or tool, establishing a contact list, defining roles and responsibilities, developing a schedule, and preparing the kickoff materials—usually requires 10 percent to 20 percent of the total RFP response time. Rushing too quickly into the kickoff will leave you ill-prepared and starting off on the wrong foot. Before you schedule your kickoff meeting, take time to thoroughly read the RFP materials, prepare the necessary kickoff materials, and organize the right meeting attendees. Thoroughly Read the RFP Materials Not only is it important to read the RFP materials to come to your kickoff meeting prepared, it is also crit