Friday, January 13, 2012

Seminar: Writing Persuasive Business Proposals

I've been teaching proposal writing courses to undergraduates since the mid-90s - in fact, I'm teaching one this semester. But this year, as part of my work with UT's Human Dimensions of Organizations program, I'll also be presenting a one-day seminar on proposal writing.

From the description:

In this seminar, attendees will examine business proposals as persuasive arguments: they will take these proposals apart, examine their underlying components, and learn how to put them back together in ways that make them more effective. Using a proven methodology for developing these types of documents, attendees will generate basic proposal arguments to address a case study. This case study will allow students, working in small groups, to identify the problem presented in the case study; generate components of the proposal; analyze stakeholder dynamics; tie these complex elements together into a coherent, easily comprehensible argument; and outline a proposal based on this groundwork. Finally, the class will workshop applications to actual cases that attendees bring in.
After this seminar, attendees will be able to:
  • Understand basic proposal structure and logic.
  • Identify basic proposal sections and understand how they work together.
  • Clarify and identify objectives.
  • Develop a methodology for reaching the objective.
  • Perform audience analysis by identifying stakeholders, investigating their concerns, and weighting criteria accordingly.
  • Connect your team’s qualifications with the specific requirements implied in the situation and methodology.
  • Develop structured benefits that address the situation.
  • Tie these complex elements into a coherent argument.
  • Learn how to rework an ill-defined problem into an effective proposal.
  • Pour all this information into a basic proposal format.
The proposal-writing methodology used in this seminar was developed for large consulting agencies, but it can also apply to other sorts of proposals and reports in a variety of organizations.
If you need to write, evaluate, or consider proposals in your work, and if you're in the central Texas area, please consider joining me. And if proposals aren't your focus, consider one of the other spring seminars that HDO will be offering.

Questions? Contact me at