By Mary Burns
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
STC If you missed last meeting….
It’s the onset of hurricane season in Central Florida, and the ritual of laying in supplies that we hope we won’t need for a supersize rainy day. We didn’t get hit with an early hurricane, but on the day of the April meeting, Mark Kilby, our scheduled speaker, had to cancel.
Dan Voss saved us from the speaker equivalent of canned food and bottled water with his presentation “How to Write a Winning Proposal: ‘Near Misses’ Only Count in Horseshoes and Nuclear War.”
Wearing a coonskin cap, Dan walked us through the Wild Frontier of bidding, planning, developing, and producing a proposal. The presentation itself illustrated many of its points, including:
- Don’t focus on your product; focus on your customer. Non-proposal-writing technical communicators’ needs were addressed by discussion of the many different “flavors” of proposal that TCs may need to work on, such as SOWs, job applications, and ideas to sell to the boss.
- Don’t just start writing; plan, write, and edit your proposal. In an organized fashion, Dan covered such nuts-and-bolts components as outlines, storyboards, thematic heads, thesis statements, cherry boxes, and action titles.
- Don’t forget to have fun! Besides the suggestions for adding fun, the presentation’s humorous touches were enjoyable. My favorite aphorism was “Feed the elephants (involve major stakeholders) early, or they will attack at the eleventh hour!”