Insights Blog

Is your proposal’s executive summary worth the bother?

A lot of times the answer is No

This article was originally published February 10, 2021 on True or false? The executive summary convinces the decision maker to award your company the contract. In the world of federal proposals, it is most likely false. Why? Because according to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), Government Source Selection Evaluation Board (SSEB) officials must score and rate your proposal based solely on the evaluation factors and subfactors. If the executive summary is not identified in the evaluation criteria, it cannot be the basis for scoring. Government proposal evaluators may only read content tied to their assigned evaluation factor(s). Therefore, they may never read the executive summary. But what about the final decision-maker, the Source Selection Authority (SSA)? Won’t he or she act favorably upon reading a compelling executive summary? The answer is, not necessarily. Even if the SSA reads the executive summary, they cannot use it as the basis for … Continue reading Is your proposal’s executive summary worth the bother?

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How readable is your proposal?

The level of readability affects how well your offer is understood

What does readability mean? Readability is a measure of how easy it is to understand a piece of writing. When writing a proposal, the level of readability affects how well your offer is understood by the reader. Best practices for readable writing include the use of a clear, easy-to-read style, active rather than passive voice, use of common words, and avoiding jargon. The Plain Language Guide recommends simple words and short sentences of no more than 15–20 words, and paragraphs that average 3–5 sentences. Check your readability in MS Word One tool you can use to assess the readability of your writing is the readability scoring feature of Microsoft (MS) Word. To turn it on, go to File > Options > Proofing, and select Show readability statistics under spelling and grammar (Figure 1).   After you run a spelling and grammar check, the readability statistics in Figure 2 are produced. … Continue reading How readable is your proposal?

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A Microsoft Word feature you will love!

Discover lesser-known features that really improve productivity

We all use it! Microsoft Word. The number 1 software tool used for proposal preparation. In time, we all discover those lesser-known features that really improve productivity. The Style Separator is one of my favorites. Style Separator This feature was revolutionary for me. It enables you to use multiple styles in a paragraph. For example, the Style Separator enables you to define figure or table action captions using a Caption style for the figure name (e.g., Figure 1-1. Organization Chart) and a different style for the descriptive portion of the action caption. The trick is to first create the Caption using References > Insert Caption. After creating the figure name or title, hit Enter and create the description/narrative language about the figure as a second paragraph, using another style. Now you have these two paragraphs: Figure 1-1. Organization Chart. Our Organization is flat, with direct lines of communication to the … Continue reading A Microsoft Word feature you will love!

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