Are Your Proposals Like the Baseball Rulebook (or the Tax Code)?

In addition to being very long, the rules of baseball cover scenarios that aren’t all that likely to happen. (This piece in the WSJ cover the 5 strangest rules in baseball.) Why do you need 240 pages of rules for baseball? Why do you need some uncountable number of pages for the tax code? Why is your company’s proposal template likely far too long?

Because as things come up, well-meaning people add rules, laws, and clauses. This is a healthy and productive way to codify scenarios as you uncover them, to reduce arguing later.

However, people rarely go back and cull outdated parts of the rulebook, and tax code, or the proposal template or pricing model. Or even rewrite to provide a clearer, shorter version.

My advice: take some time to make your proposals shorter. Eliminate unneeded sections, streamline wordy sentences, replace polysyllabic jargon with clear, concise language. Not only will your proposals be shorter, they will be more compelling. (Do the same thing with your pricing– if you have pricing programs that no longer serve a valid purpose, just get rid of them.)

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