The Second P

Request for Proposal (RFP) documents can be confusing and challenging to understand. However, they represent the roadmap for any responsive proposal. Perkins+Will proposals need to be compliant, interesting, differentiating, and visually engaging. As a result, design professionals need to know or be able to do the following:

  • Analyze an RFP to ‘unpack’ requirements and define differentiating messaging

  • Read an RFP to determine appropriate content related to each of the prompts

  • Link project and client research to overall messaging and each of the proposal sections

  • Write clear, concise content in response to RFP prompts

  • Adapt boilerplate content related to projects, resumes, and approach to specific client needs and RFP prompts

Guiding Principles for Technical Writers

What is the purpose of the document?

Writers need to identify why the document is being written: to inform, to persuade, to demonstrate, to teach, etc.? Knowing purpose guides the writer to additional research, establishes the boundaries for how much data or back-up s/he needs to include, and the basics of length, tone, and style. Writers should set objectives for their writing to inform content, tone, and layout.

Who is the audience?

Writers seldom write for themselves; they write to be read. Knowing the audience informs style and tone as well as work choice, level of detail, and required explanation. To achieve the purpose(s) above, the writer must ensure the reader can and will read the document: What do I want my audience to know, believe, or do as a result of reading this document?

How will the document be used?

The use of the document informs a document’s length, layout, and future production. Will the document be used as fuel for a decision, as instructions or reference, as back-up or evidence, etc.? By writing for a use, the writer can tailor the message to what is useful, making reading the document easier and more likely. Knowing the intended use can also save time and effort in document design and production.