Re: Proposals as simple, easy-to-understand documents...

Subject: Re: Proposals as simple, easy-to-understand documents...
From: Dick Margulis <ampersandvirgule -at- att -dot- net>
To: Karen Field <kfield -at- STELLCOM -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 1999 06:13:59 -0400


I was an early hire at a software startup. As there was no software to
write doc for at that point, the boss asked me to contribute my skills
to writing the business plan that he would use to approach venture

We turned out a clean document--straightforward, active, engaging prose,
good typography and page design, color printing--and investors responded
very positively, commenting on how it stood out from what they were
accustomed to.

We've continued the same approach (at perhaps a less finished, less
"designed" level) in our approach to prospects who send us lists of
questions (not quite RFPs), etc., also to a generally positive response.

So I would say your instincts are correct. The reason these documents
are generally so unintelligible is that they have been written by people
whose expertise lies elsewhere than writing.

I say go for it.


Karen Field wrote:
> Okay, now that I've captured your attention with the oxymoron in my subject
> line, please offer some advice:
> I've been asked to rewrite the basic proposal format for my company. What a
> mess! Passive voice everywhere, long, unwieldy sentences, lots of abstract
> ideas...If I rewrite in simple, clear, clean, prose, am I violating some
> invisible law that proposals must be complicated, unattractive beasts for
> potential clients to read? It sure seems that way.
> I'd appreciate the support and encouragement of anyone who's been in my
> shoes.
> Thanks.
> Karen Field

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