On any given day in this wide, brown land of ours, thousands of contracts are being put out to tender. Big corporates, SMEs, smaller entities and one-man bands are all issuing RFTs and starting the often lengthy process of assessment. Different though the responses to these many RFTs may be, there’s one strategy that every business can employ to increase their chances of winning: write for a 14-year old.
Think about it. Just because you’re tendering to another business, you can’t assume that those reviewing your submission will be either natural or enthusiastic readers. Many people find reading a challenge and, the more highbrow or formal the language, the more difficult it will be for them to connect with what you’re trying to convey. And don’t forget they’ll no doubt have many other bids to consider. Make reading a chore and they may choose to skim yours in favour of another that’s easier to digest.
Consider the level of complexity in your message, too. Unless specifically asked to do so, there really is no need to craft responses so technical that you’d have to be a subject matter expert to get your drift. Many assessment panels consist of individuals whose forté in assessing bids lies not in grasping large volumes of technical data, but in looking at value for money, potential for long-term partnerships, logistics, alignment with their company values and so on.
‘Writing to a 14-year old’ will help you pitch your submission at a readily understandable level. By using shorter sentences, simpler words and more straightforward language your audience will feel more comfortable, easily get a good understanding of your business and, most importantly, keep reading.
If you’re not sure just how to pitch your language at the right level then fear not – help is at hand. Word has some handy tools to help you check the readability of your output. Simply click on the Help button and type in “Flesch reading ease” or “Flesch-Kincaid reading level” and follow the instructions. With a bit of practice, it won’t be long before writing in a simpler format will come naturally to you.
Remember, when writing a tender response your aim is not so much to impress but to engage your reader so they’ll want to know more about your offering. And if you can do that, your submission is in with a good chance.