Executive Compass are tender writing experts. However what does it actually mean to be an expert?
The definition of an expert from the Oxford English Dictionary is “a person who is very knowledgeable about or skilful in a particular area”. This started me thinking about whether one should be knowledgeable about tenders, writing or writing tenders?
So, I went to my trusty thesaurus to see if it could help. It did not!
Specialist, authority, adept, maestro, virtuoso, wizard and so it went on.
If you are a tender writing expert I think that you have to be an expert in tender writing not just writing and certainly not just tenders. I know a number of public sector procurement experts that know the rules and regulations inside out. Some of them are evaluators and when you talk to them they assure you how knowledgeable they are and how much they know about tenders. They are not tender writing experts! They are procurement specialists who know a lot about tenders. They can evaluate tenders and they can tell a good tender from a bad one but they are not tender writing experts. Well mostly, there are always exceptions to everything and I am sure there are some, it’s just I have never met them.
Ex procurement specialists will tend to quote rules at you and say “you cannot do this, you cannot do that”. They do not normally have an appreciation of what goes on in areas outside their own control and mostly, cannot write tenders. They do not believe that sometimes tenders are evaluated unfairly nor do they accept that because tenders are evaluated by humans the results are not consistent.
For example: A client and I developed a model answer and submitted it in two different documents to the same local authority in the space of six months. The result was a difference in marking of over 30%. Now, your public sector procurement expert will say that cannot happen or it was an anomaly. Of course it is not.PQQ and tenders are judged by people and people make subjective and inconsistent decisions every day of their lives. Anyway, I digress!
What about the writer then. Well there are many types of writer from full time professional creative or technical writer to part time blogger to full time poet. This means it is difficult to say whether a writer can write a tender. I think that overall a writer of business or technical documents can write a tender. Provided that they have an active vocabulary and understanding of the English language then they should be able to write a tender. That though does not make them an expert.
An expert tender writer should, I believe, be a writer first and a tender expert second. That’s why when people attend tender writing training courses many of them are wasting their time. I believe that once you are a certain age, you can either write or you cannot and no amount of training will help unless you possess the core skill of being able to construct coherent sentences. That is also why I believe it is more important to be good and knowledgeable about writing than being a tender/procurement/public sector/private sector expert. All of those can be learnt, certainly enough to become a tender writer. Before I start receiving hate mail from procurement specialists, remember I am talking of professional tender writing experts, tender writers who write tenders for a living not occasionally or part of another job they do the rest of the time. People who can write on any subject (after research obviously) who touch type and put out in excess of 15,000 words per week, sometimes much more. Writers who consistently win tenders with their writing.
That is a tender writing expert. They do not have to be experts in the myriad of EU rules and regulations; they do not have to fully understand the nuances between different types of tender. No they need other skills. The independent tender writing expert needs to be skilled in and have an understanding of:
• IT skills
• Typing (not the same as writing or IT)
• Used to working with incomplete information
• Being able to work quickly and to deadlines
• Capable of multi tasking and is structured and systematic
This is where a tender writing expert comes into his own. They can help you because of a whole host of skills AS WELL AS being expert writers and knowledgeable about tenders.
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