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Welcome to "Anatomy of a Proposal," the second in the professional communication series.
My name is Soma Jurgensen, I'm the chair of the School of Business at Rasmussen College in Brooklyn Park Minnesota.
For today's video, our learning objectives are to:
One, be able to organize a proposal into specific sections.
Two, induce problem discovery in the problem statement,
propose SMART solutions and to conclude your proposal with power.
The organization of a proposal follows pretty common conventions.
There's a purpose statement,
which is a short statement of about a paragraph explaining what you're proposing, why,
and what the benefit will be to the company.
There's a problem statement that fully identifies the problem,
but the most important characteristics of the problem
that than relate to your solution.
So your solution should be related directly to your problem.
And then there's the cost-benefit.
Because any solution is going to require resources.
How do you balance that cost with the benefits that the organization realize?
And because proposals require approval to move forward,
how do you conclude with power to ensure the best chance have your proposal being instituted by the organization?
Start with the purpose.
A purpose statement is like a movie trailer or a pitch.
One of the most famous pitches is that for "Alien."
The person, who was pitching it, is rumored to have said that,
"Alien is like Jaws on a spaceship."
That's it.
"Jaws on a spaceship."
No extra words used.
All the connotations of Jaws, and all the magic,
and science fiction feelings and thoughts of a spaceship were brought together in that one sentence.
Now, I don't know that any purpose statement for a business can be quite that concise, or that visual,
but you do want to keep it to a one-paragraph introduction.
This is like a trailer, you're getting a taste of what's coming, but you want to read more.
In it, you want to identify the problem,
preview the solution,
and illustrate a better future.
In the Alien pitch, "Jaws on a spaceship."
Well, Jaws grossed quite a bit of money,
and at the time that this idea was pitched,
science fiction movies in those in space were getting quite a bit of attention.
So this better future for the producer, was clearly a lot more money for a famous grossing film,
which is exactly what Alien became.
Here's an example of a purpose statement:
Gardens R Us has struggled to grow their business through more landscaping clients.
A site audit reveals that rewriting website copy can optimize the site for landscaping search engine results
that will lead to new business.
I've emphasize some words here.
So Gardens R Us is the organization that I work for in this case, as an example.
And I am indicating that this organization,
my organization, has struggled to grow our business
through more landscaping clients.
We've conducted the site audit in our marketing department,
and it's revealed,
so you notice that I use evidence here,
that rewriting the website's copy can optimize the site for the landscaping keyword search engine,
So the search engines can find those results that will lead to new business.
So this is the example of the future.
So in a purpose statement ask yourself these questions and then hone it down to a single paragraph.
And you notice no where here do I have the word "I."
Remember that a proposal is a professional document,
and therefore should be written in the third person professional.
So the first question is, what are you proposing?
In this case, I'm proposing rewriting website copy so that
landscaping can be optimized for search engine results.
I'm proposing this because......
And you notice I start with my reason,
and then go to my solution,
but this is just easier to think through as you're drafting.
So the reason I'm proposing this is
because my company has struggled to grow their business through more landscaping clients.
So this is what the business wants. And why?
Because the end benefit is new business. Right?
They don't want to serve the same clients over and over again and just serve them more.
They want to bring in new clients in the landscaping area,
so with my end benefit, I've also shown that understand the needs of my company
and what they're trying to do in their business.
A lot to do in just a short paragraph.
The problem statement is next,
and, so, do delineate and organize under subheadings.
So the problem statement can either be simply problem statement,
or you can reveal the problem in the subheading itself.
So in the case of the previous example,
I might say, "landscaping customers still hold only five percent of our business."
So I do reveal that a serious problem exists in the problem statement.
But, do know, that it's a missed opportunity.
One thing you don't want to do is make the reader feel like you are criticizing their work.
That a serious problem exists that we're not getting landscape customers is something the
whole organization is struggling with.
And I've identified this as a missed opportunity for the company.
So now I'm gonna define it in the problem statement.
How long has our organization been trying to attract landscaping customers?
Why, in this case, landscaping customers are more profitable?
For us there's less upkeep once the design is put into place by us,
and so as the customer stays longer we actually enjoy more profit from them.
And for whom is it a problem?
It's a problem for the whole organization because the growth in the health of this organization relies on new customers.
Support the symptoms with relevant statistics.
At this point, I might say that,
"5 percent of our customers are represented by landscaping business."
"If our goal is 20 percent, I can say that we're still in the single digits
while we are trying to reach a 20 percent of business out of landscaping customers."
That's a relevant statistic.
Now some other symptoms you might say that are:
"when we do get a new landscaping customer,
we tend to lose them at twice the rate of our gardening services for snowplow customers."
Right? Relevant statistic. Losing customers is a symptom.
Those small number of landscape customers is a symptom.
And third might say, "perhaps our current landscaping customers
have told us that we don't have the expertise to meet their needs properly."
And so that's another symptom that we can put some relevant statistics to.
Does the owner have landscaping architecture as their primary education?
Is it something that we should develop?
Is their expertise that we can bring in from outside for design,
but then satisfy the other areas that a customer would need.
So these symptoms need to be supported with specifics
because that's one way to grow credibility.
If you'd like to read a little bit more about making a case in your problem statement,
and how symptoms can be substantiated,
please visit the Sofia packet on "Making a Case in your Problem Statement" at your leisure.
Now, after the problem statement, of course,
you're going to propose a solution.
That's why you began the proposal in the first place.
Now you'll notice I did not jump right into my recommended solution
because, first, I have to bring the reader along with the discovery of the problem with me.
Perhaps they knew they were frustrated by this five percent of landscaping customers,
but they couldn't understand what was happening.
And we have, in our problem statement, brought other symptoms to light.
So now, this may sound elementary, but state your solution.
State it quickly, state it clearly.
Do not assume that your reader knows exactly what you want to happen,
and don't allow them to read through several paragraphs to find your solution.
So, in this case, I would state clearly that
"after a site audit, on page copywriting optimization is the way that we can reach more landscape customers."
That has related it directly to the problem.
If we reach more landscaping customers, and show the expertise that we have on our website,
and show our ability to do the work for our contractors,
then we can keep those landscape customers.
And this plan is workable.
We're not talking about hiring a consultant to completely redesign our website,
or create a million dollar advertising campaign.
We're talking about something that, although challenging, is workable for our organization.
And we want to make it SMART, so if you recall from my last video that means:
S being specific, using specific language and goals.
So rewriting our website optimizes for landscaping search terms in order to increase our websearch results.
That's specific language in goals.
How will you measure success?
At this point in my solution, I might say that,
"we would like to see our increase for landscaping services increase by seventy-five percent,
and if just two percent of them turned over into customers
that would increase our number of landscape customers in six months to 10 percent and double it.
Now I'm talking about how to measure success.
And do I have support from experts at this point in my proposal?
I would show the impact that page copy optimization has on bringing in new customers
and turning them into clients, paying clients.
I know that research is out there, so I will borrow from external experts to add credibility to my position and my recommendation.
So this is my A, my agreed upon. And M for measurable.
So R for realistic. Challenging, yes, but realistic
Realistic is something that we can do with effort and resources.
And finally time bound.
I would recommend in my solution that we follow a particular timetable that
we conclude a site audit, do a competitive analysis of keyword search terms,
test the new copy by three months so that
our new copy is ready to launch two months before our busiest time of the year,
so two months before spring, okay.
That is what allows my solution to be SMART.
But first I have to convince my reader that my solution relates directly to the problem that I've reveal to them.
And now you have to be clear about the resources that you need.
So this is the costs and benefits section.
First is time, that is a resource.
Someone's time needs to be spent rewriting the website and writing new copy researching keyword terms.
There is some money involved potentially, because you would have to pay that person.
You might decide that you want to pay a copywriter.
There's going to be people needed either you're gonna have to hire them or you're going to have to redirect their work from within the organization.
So now my benefits have to outweigh the costs.
In this case when benefit is very quantifiable, I can calculate the new business.
So if I get even one new landscape customer that stays with us through two seasons,
I make enough profit to pay for the solution.
Now my original solution says that success would mean seven new customers,
so I have more than paid for the resources I have used for this project.
Sometimes the benefits, however, will not be monetarily quantifiable,
so think about it from the reader's perspective.
If I am talking to a nonprofit organization, and I'm trying to bring in clients from other areas,
so for example, the Courage Center which is very well known in the Minnesota area for helping people with disabilities lead full lives.
I wouldn't necessarily be able to quantify through profit
how our website optimization might affect business,
but if I'm able to reach more people who have disabilities,
and find them meaningful jobs, find them places to live where they can be independent.
That benefit can also be weighed against the costs of the project.
So don't be afraid to relate it to the mission or the core values of the organization, as well.
And all this that we've done is well and good,
but this work, if you don't conclude by asking for what you want,
will not make for a successful proposal.
So it's that time.
Remind the reader that change is necessary, you've made a good case for change.
Emphasize the benefits to the decision maker, do not go over the mean points of your solution.
Now's the time to create a word picture in their mind.
So now you have rooms filled with people who need job placement and places to live,
and who need counseling through their disability.
You have a roster filled with landscaping customers,
so that your spring and summer are already full two months out.
What does success look like from the readers point of view.
And then ask for the next steps.
Depending on where you are in your organization, and how far your process is,
you could ask for approval right then and there.
However, you typically might want to ask what next steps are.
At this point you might want to ask for an opportunity to meet and talk about the proposal.
There is a deadline, for example, if we're going to make this proposal work,
we will need to sit down and start our timeline as early as next month,
so let's come together on approval the next two weeks.
That type of a thing.
So it's time to ask for your action that you were hoping for from the very beginning.
Thank you very much for your time.


【職場的進擊】活動企劃:深度剖析寫作技巧 Anatomy of a Proposal

28471 分類 收藏
Colin Lin 發佈於 2014 年 7 月 15 日    Colin Lin 翻譯    林彥君 審核
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