Proposal Critique

Grant Application Training

Proposal Critique

Writing your grant proposal should be a process that you take very
seriously, involving several drafts in which you seek help, critique and
in which you are willing to take feedback to improve your presentation.
Never at any time should you consider simply writing an informal email
or placing a single call the entire process involved in receiving a
grant. This process will take work, and you will need the help of
others to put your absolute best foot forward.

There are several methods you can employ to insuring your document
provides the best presentation of your thoughts. Here are just a few
ideas you should consider:

Read Your Proposal Out Loud

Have you ever written an email and then read what you wrote out loud?
Sometimes the results can be quite surprising. As we write things
that enter our mind, sometimes that pathway from our brain to our
fingers seems to come up with its own interpretation of our thoughts!
Find a room where you can close the door and don’t be bashful; try to
read your written words with a tone that might represent how a third
party would seeing the proposal for the first time. If a sentence
causes you to stumble a little on how to speak it, there is a good
chance it would be misunderstood or confuse the reader a bit. This
exercise may seem trivial, but actually can be very helpful.

Ask Friends to Help

Nothing is better than having a third party review your ideas and
final document. Even if you think your idea is novel or groundbreaking,
you need to engage the help of others to get your proposal refined to
the best possible presentation. Find people you trust not only with
your ideas, but to give you honest feedback, even if their feedback may
not be what you want to hear. Would you rather get the some negative
feedback from friends or just fail in the application process and never
receive a grant?

Another idea is to try employing your friends along with the previous
suggestion; have them read your document back to you out loud. Again,
the results of this exercise can be very surprising and beneficial. As
the reader tries to read and even emphasize ideas, you can hear what
impacts them. You will also hear when sentences cause them to stumble
or perhaps raise their eyebrows as they try to “get it.”

Put Your Proposal Aside

Sounds a little counter productive, but this can be very helpful.
Once you have the bulk of your work done on a section or perhaps an
entire document, the worst thing you can do is submit it right away.
There may be situations where deadlines don’t give you this luxury, but
if you are working ahead and haven’t procrastinated your proposal
writing process, you should have time to wait a few days and come back
with a fresh set of eyes and mind to look at your document again.
Sometimes, particularly after working on something late at night,
writing may seem well done at the time of writing but later on you can
see how to better address them. Don’t use this as an excuse to
procrastinate getting done, but use the technique wisely.

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