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Beware of Proposal Editors

I will never forget my first bylined article in the Financial Times of London. It was back when Kathy Lee Gifford was in trouble as her clothing line for Wal-Mart was accused of violating the child labor laws in Honduras. As an aspiring journalist, I did a ton of research and preparation for this article. It even included meeting the Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, Kathy Lee herself, and interviewing a number of others who had a say on the subject.

The morning of the edition, I was tingling from head to toes with anticipation. I opened the newspaper, and started reading my article, hardly containing the excitement. And then my world collapsed. Right in the middle of the article, an editor in London somehow changed Kathy Lee’s last name to Griffith. I was crushed and embarrassed – because now every reader (of which there were millions) saw me as an illiterate person not knowing my subject. The Washington Bureau chief did talk me off the ledge that day, bless his heart, and also reinforced the newly learned lesson about the editors: “BEWARE.”

I find this lesson confirmed years later in proposals. NEVER, EVER let your editors be the last people who handle your proposal. Always, always carefully go over their redlines to ensure that they didn’t change the meaning, or spell out the acronyms incorrectly. I recommend even running a read-out-loud session on a fully edited proposal document, to ensure that everything is correct, and your message is consistent. Just like the British misspelling a name of a U.S. celebrity, your editors may not be familiar with your subject matter. Don’t let their mistakes ruin your reputation with the customer.

Do you have your own editor horror stories? If so, please, share them with me.

P.S. Here is just a bit of news from OST Global Solutions, Inc:

• We had a solid turnout at the free Top 10 Proposal Mistakes webinar
with more than 370 people in attendance. If you couldn’t make it, you
can still sign up to get the recording and slides.

• Our March Orals training is sold out. Given the class’ popularity, we will
soon announce additional dates when we will run this course again.

• We still have three spaces open in the Preparing Winning Multiple Award
and Task Order Proposals class on March 21-22, and
four spaces open in the Cost Proposal Strategy for Proposal Managers
class on March 23 in North Bethesda, MD. If you were considering signing up,
do so as soon as possible, because we are not currently scheduled to run these
classes again until the following year. Here is where you can register:

Best regards,
Olessia Smotrova-Taylor
President / CEO
OST Global Solutions, Inc.

About the author:
Olessia Smotrova-Taylor is the President and CEO of OST Global Solutions, Inc. She is a currently practicing capture and proposal consultant who won more than $17 Billion in new business. As one of the proposal industry leaders, she is on the Board of Directors of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals’ (APMP) National Capital Area (NCA) chapter and is the editor and chair of the APMP NCA Executive Summary eZine that won 2010 APMP Communications Award. She regularly presents at the APMP’s international and other conferences, roundtables, and proposal boot camps, and runs popular training webinars on business development. She has 16 years of experience in proposal and capture management, marketing, and communications. She is a prolific author, speaker, trainer, and blogger, and is well-known in the global proposal community. Her self-study course, Executive Summary Secrets, sells worldwide. Prior to starting her own consulting company, she won business for Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, and wrote for the Financial Times of London.

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