The One Page Proposal

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The key to pitching your bright idea with one persuasive page.

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The One Page Proposal

  1. 1. The One-Page Proposal The key to pitching your bright idea with one persuasive page - concepts & references from “The One-Page Proposal” by P. Riley
  2. 2. What is a one-page proposal? <ul><li>It is a document that: </li></ul><ul><li>concisely explains all the factors, reasons for, and circumstances concerning the proposed action </li></ul><ul><li>proposes a specific action to be taken </li></ul><ul><li>uses the persuasive process to construct a strong case for saying “yes” </li></ul><ul><li>accomplishes all of the above in a single, powerful page </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why Only One Page? <ul><li>decision makers are busy people </li></ul><ul><li>a one-page document shows respect for their time </li></ul><ul><li>a concise message recognizes your readers’ knowledge, experience, good judgment, and their ability to act quickly and decisively </li></ul><ul><li>too much information can slow down or prevent decision making </li></ul><ul><li>easier decisions are the first (and sometimes the only) ones to be made </li></ul>
  4. 4. Why one and a half won’t do <ul><li>your aim is to present a course of action that appears to be as easy as possible </li></ul><ul><li>if it’s more than one page, even the first page may not be read </li></ul><ul><li>all the effectiveness, power, reader appeal, and elegance that comes from condensing your ideas is lost if the message exceeds one page </li></ul>
  5. 5. Why one and a half won’t do - the team photo analogy <ul><li>would you take a picture of your hockey/soccer/ </li></ul><ul><li>baseball team that cuts out two of the group because they are standing outside the frame? </li></ul><ul><li>similarly, to put the last few details of your pitch on a second page suggests those second-page components are not as significant or important </li></ul><ul><li>it fragments and devalues the overall impact </li></ul><ul><li>it also looks like poor planning </li></ul>
  6. 6. Less is more <ul><li>a single page of about 400 words will take an average reader three to four minutes to review and absorb </li></ul><ul><li>it’s those critical few minutes inside your readers’ mind that you are after </li></ul><ul><li>doing so will accomplish your #1 mission in the proposal process… </li></ul><ul><li>the seed of your idea will be planted inside the heads of your target audience </li></ul>
  7. 7. Added benefits of the one-page proposal approach <ul><li>the process of condensing your pitch into a single page can be a significant and effective step in clarifying your own ideas </li></ul><ul><li>it can help you to identify clear objectives and focus on them, identify flaws, target your thinking, and fine-tune your pitch </li></ul>
  8. 8. The strategic steps of your one-page pitch <ul><li>Follows a logical process of thought: </li></ul><ul><li>Title and Subtitle –what’s to come </li></ul><ul><li>Target and Secondary Targets - goals </li></ul><ul><li>Rationale – background, reasons, the pitch </li></ul><ul><li>Financial - $$$ </li></ul><ul><li>Status – what’s happening </li></ul><ul><li>Action – what do you want? </li></ul>
  9. 9. Section 1: TITLE and subtitle <ul><li>TITLE (ALL IN UPPER CASE) labels and defines the entire proposal </li></ul><ul><li>TITLE condenses the details into a single, captivating phrase – if nothing else gets read, this will </li></ul><ul><li>subtitle (in upper and lower case below the main title) gives more detail, builds interest, adds “punch” </li></ul><ul><li>subtitle provides a second chance to “hook” your reader </li></ul>
  10. 10. Section 2: TARGET: (title in italicized upper case and underlined) <ul><li>this is the main goal of your proposal </li></ul><ul><li>could also be called the “intention” </li></ul><ul><li>briefly explains in plain language the principal intent of your proposal </li></ul><ul><li>answers your reader’s question, “What exactly will happen if I accept this proposal and it goes forward?” </li></ul><ul><li>begins with “TO” and all in UPPER CASE </li></ul>
  11. 11. Secondary targets (not titled) <ul><li>each secondary target statement also begins with “to” as in the main target statement </li></ul><ul><li>almost all proposals have more than one target/objective </li></ul><ul><li>alone, each may not be able to justify the proposal, but together they add weight and purpose to the main objective </li></ul><ul><li>secondary targets highlight additional perceived benefits and increase the odds for approval </li></ul><ul><li>in your reader’s mind your idea goes from “this is an interesting idea” to “this a great idea” </li></ul>
  12. 12. Rationale (not titled) <ul><li>this, the longest section, is the all-important step where you “sell” your idea </li></ul><ul><li>better still, if this section is well crafted, your proposal will sell itself </li></ul><ul><li>in two or three concise paragraphs, it convincingly presents all the reasons why your proposal should be accepted (think benefits!) </li></ul><ul><li>back up your objectives by showing you’ve done your homework – discuss needs and present key features, advantages, and benefits </li></ul><ul><li>here’s your chance to show you are prepared, and to infect the reader with your passion! </li></ul>
  13. 13. FINANCIAL (title in italicized upper case and underlined) <ul><li>the financial section discusses cost and revenue issues, as well as related money considerations </li></ul><ul><li>this is where you clarify the financial commitments required from the reader </li></ul><ul><li>even though the reader may not be a financial investor, it is still important to explain the money issues in order to gain the necessary support and backing </li></ul>
  14. 14. STATUS (title in italicized upper case and underlined) <ul><li>Here’s where you answer some key questions: </li></ul><ul><li>what is the current situation? </li></ul><ul><li>what has been accomplished already and/or what preparations are underway? </li></ul><ul><li>who have you talked to and are there any agreements/related deals already in place? </li></ul><ul><li>Note: a great chance to build credibility and momentum </li></ul>
  15. 15. ACTION (title in italicized upper case and underlined) <ul><li>your action statement is in response to your reader’s implied question “What exactly do you want me to do? </li></ul><ul><li>all you’ve presented thus far has been building up to this all-important statement </li></ul><ul><li>you must be very specific about what you want – is a recommendation, an endorsement, a financial investment, a loan, a personal time commitment? </li></ul><ul><li>remember – if you don’t ask for something, it’s not a proposal </li></ul>
  16. 16. A review of the key steps <ul><li>Title and subtitle </li></ul><ul><li>Target and secondary targets </li></ul><ul><li>Rationale </li></ul><ul><li>Financial </li></ul><ul><li>Status </li></ul><ul><li>Action </li></ul>
  17. 17. Limitations <ul><li>some government proposals have a certain format, length, and sequence of presentation </li></ul><ul><li>grant proposals – some foundations and other granting bodies require proposals to be submitted on forms they provide </li></ul><ul><li>proposals for public or private funding as well as architecture, engineering, and environmental impact studies are often too complex; however, a One-page Proposal may still be a perfectly appropriate “toe-in-the-door” document </li></ul><ul><li>literary proposals are traditionally lengthy; again, an effective One-page Proposal could certainly result in a request for the standard version </li></ul>
  18. 18. Summing up The One-Page Proposal <ul><li>presents and promotes your bright ideas on a single, powerful page </li></ul><ul><li>targets busy, hard-to-reach decision makers and shows respect for their time </li></ul><ul><li>focuses on key benefits and makes it easy for your reader to evaluate and decide quickly </li></ul><ul><li>provides a fast and effective way to help your ideas become realities </li></ul>
  19. 19. The One-page Proposal: the key to pitching your bright idea

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