How to make your tender, bid or proposal sparkle

Writing a tender, proposal or bid is hard work. Getting the words down into the response schedules can be a challenge. However, once it’s written the work doesn’t stop.

Independent review

It’s vital that you have an independent review of the entire draft tender. This could be by someone in your company who hasn’t been involved in writing the tender, or an external expert. The review is crucial for a few reasons:

  • To make sure that the tender is consistent in tone and style. This is especially important if various people in your company have contributed content, as everyone has a different style of writing.
  • To make sure that the questions have been answered properly. So much cutting and pasting goes on when preparing a tender response that it’s easy to forget to check if the content that’s been dropped in actually answers the questions. Firm editing may be required.
  • To make sure that there’s no waffle. It’s easy for tender writers to get carried away and include every possible point in a tender response. However, it’s very important to answer the questions fully but succinctly.

What is editing?

It’s almost certain that the tender response will need editing.

Editing is where the content is read through very carefully to check for: errors such as grammatical mistakes and typos; sentences or paragraphs that don’t make sense due to superfluous or missing words; and where words could be deleted or added to make the content clearer and easier to understand.

Editing usually involves rearranging the words in a sentence, and the sentences in a paragraph. It can require moving paragraphs around.

It’s a good idea to have someone who has not been involved in writing the tender to edit it as they’ll have fresh eyes.

How to edit a tender when you’re not an editor

If you’re not an experienced editor, here are some tips to help you:

  1. Read the tender aloud. This is an excellent way to pick up content that doesn’t run smoothly. Clumsy content can then be quickly changed.
  2. Set a word count limit for the response to each question in the tender. Many RFTs and RFPs have word count limits anyway, but if not, try to reduce the word count by up to 25%. This will ensure that your tender response is leaner, more precise.

To reduce the word count, cut out unnecessary words. You’ll be surprised at how many there are. Typically, words such as ‘will’, ‘be’, ‘are’ and ‘that’ can be deleted with no change to the meaning.

  1. Break long paragraphs into shorter paragraphs. Use paragraph breaks or bullet points.

If you would like a professional review of your draft tender, or editing and proofreading help, please contact Proof Communications on 0411 123 216. We’ve worked on more than 700 tenders, so we know what to look for!

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