Why presentation is important
When writing tender responses, particularly those with specified page limits of word counts, it can be tempting to pack as much information in as possible. This may include reducing font down to a size 10, choosing single spacing, removing space after paragraphs, decreasing margins, or using abbreviations/hyphens between words. Being economical with the space/word count can seem like a good idea, allowing the bid writer to squeeze an extra 30 words or three lines into their limited space.
However, what we find is that the end result is often an unappealing wall of words, hard to follow, and at times the main points of the response can be lost in the denseness of the text.
Just remember, the examiner of your tender has set a word/page count for a reason, and it can be detrimental to your submission to try and find loopholes around that. With increased frequency we have seen buyers setting clear boundaries regarding font style/size and spacing to deter people from doing so.
As such, and if the scope allows, we encourage bidders to think outside their written narrative to create visually stimulating tender submissions, that present your organisation in a professional and favourable light and demonstrate your organisation’s high standards without using word count to do so.
Presentation ideas to consider in your tender
The extent and complexity of presentation is entirely dependent on the size/scope of the tender, the buyer’s instructions, and your technical abilities. However, there are some simply, yet effective things you can do to stylistically present your bid:
- Use space effectively – going back to the previous point, forcing as much information as possible into the space/word limit does not mean you have answered the question; it may in fact have the opposite effect. Instead plan out your response; using the question/subpoints as clear headings, break up the response and assign a certain page area/word count initially so that you can map out exactly what you want to say throughout without running out of space/words. Headers also act as a visual ‘guide’, indicating to the reader that you have answered all elements of the question without them having to extensively search for information. Using colours for headings and key points in the response also draw attention to the parts of your response that make you stand out.
- Think about alternative ways of presenting information – presenting information in the most appropriate format can often be half the battle of conveying your point. For example, what may take 100 words to explain in a paragraph, may use half that space in a table, and be much more impactful. Bullet points are also helpful in providing a lot of information in a manageable and succinct manner. Think about this when you are writing and don’t be afraid to go back and change sections into different formats until you are happy.
- Use images and infographics – the phrase ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ is true, and by selectively choosing response-specific images/infographics you can effectively either support your written narrative or provide added-value information without using your words. For example, displaying KPI data or statistics in an infographic, presenting your resource in an organogram, or using photographs to evidence what you have done can all add an additional layer of legitimacy to your response whilst breaking up the text with impactful visual imagery.
- Create your own templates – where responses are not submitted in the buyer’s template, create your own. Using company branding in the header/footer of the document can make the response look more ‘polished’. In the footer you could also think about including accreditation markers such as ISOs, professional memberships (e.g., SIA or Constructionline), or any professional qualifications which enable you to provide additional information and convey your expertise and quality standards all within the word/page limit once again.
Whilst presentation may not necessarily be marked, it can be the difference between the buyer viewing your response as a dense wall of text or something worth reading. First impressions are important so please take the time to produce stylistically appealing responses that could leave a lasting impression.
For tender writing support, at any stage of the process, contact our team today to discuss how we can help.
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