The first part of the method is objective setting and in this bid course that means taking a long hard look at the requirements of the bid.
Objective setting: bid requirements analysis
In this lesson, you will look at how to analyse the requirements of a bid to work out exactly what the prospect is asking, how you can best fulfil those requirements and – crucially – whether your organisation should be submitting a bid at all.
Next, getting your messages right is critical for any writing. That’s why it’s such an important part of the Structured Writing Method. It probably does not need saying that this is an absolutely critical part of any successful bid process.
Messaging: executive summaries
This lesson teaches a tried-and-trusted messaging method for creating clear, compelling and competitive messages. These will form the key structural elements used when structuring an executive summary in a later lesson.
Messaging: for bid questions
If your job is to answer one or more questions in a tender document, it is important to know how to create messages that are clear, concise, competitive and compelling. This lesson shows you how.
The method then moves on to structuring. if you can create an effective structure for a bid document before writing begins, you are far more likely to write a better document, much faster. It will also mean that you can get your initial draft seen and approved much earlier in the bid process which means reviewers won’t be asking for any last minute rewrites.
Structuring: Outline View
In this lesson, you will learn how to use Microsoft Word’s extremely powerful Outline View tool to help you rapidly, and more effectively, structure your writing.
Structuring: executive summaries
Not all RFPs allow you to write an executive summary. But if you are given that option then it is a great opportunity to communicate your competitive position. This lesson provides clear guidelines on how best to structure your executive summary. It shows how the structure should communicate your competitive messages and discusses where and how the other elements of your executive summary should be included.
Structuring: answering complex bid questions
Next, we’ll look at how to answer a question properly. It’s important because failing to answer the question properly is sadly one of the worst crimes committed in bid responses. In this lesson we’ll look at how to break down a question into its key components to make sure you answer it fully, and even assign appropriate word counts to different aspects of your answer.
Structuring: answering complex questions with storyboards
Structuring is also key to creating a plan (or storyboard) for a bid answer. You can then show this to the final review team at an early stage – before you write – enabling you to often cut out hours of unnecessary revision time. This lesson will show you how to create a storyboard, and use it to get your bid answers approved internally before you craft your writing.
The key thing about the Structured Writing Method is that writing tends to be the very last thing you do. After you’ve worked out your initial objectives, fine-tuned your messages and created the structure for your answer, you’ll find your writing is much more focused and confident than before. But it’s still important to look at several ways to improve the crafting of your writing at this last stage.
Crafting: writing for scan readers
Just like web readers, procurement people tend to scan read bid documents – looking for things they can score. In this lesson, we will look at a variety of useful techniques that will enable you to create bid documents that can be scan-read by your prospects. You will see how you can use things like headings, bullets, boxes and bold text to make your documents an easy and manageable read.
Crafting: engage your readers
This lesson asks ‘How are you going to hold your reader’s interest if your text is uninspiring and dull?’ You’ll learn how to engage your readers by turning facts into benefits, and writing lively, direct sentences.
Crafting: writing with clarity
It is important that your bid documents convey your proposition as clearly as possible. That’s why we have a lesson that shows you how to cut jargon from your bids, and how to use words and sentences that are as short and simple as possible.
Crafting: writing with authority
Writing with authority is important for internal documents. But it can also be critical for external facing documents offering consultative advice. This lesson looks at the particular challenges of such documents and will give you guidance on authoritative structure and language. In addition, it will give advice on when to provide legal caveats and how best to incorporate them.
Crafting: grammar and punctuation
Poor grammar and punctuation create the effect of an unprofessional organisation. This lesson should clear up a number of common grammatical queries, and shows you the correct way to use punctuation marks such as colons, semi-colons and apostrophes.
As you can imagine, a few silly mistakes in a bid document can undo all the hard work that you’ve put into it. So finally, and appropriately perhaps, the Structured Writing Method finishes with a lesson about proofreading, in which you will learn our top ten tips to help you improve the accuracy of your writing.