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Understanding Business
Proposals
CHAPTER 10

Proposals and
Formal Reports

Instructor Only Version
© 2010 Thomson South-Western

, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e

Chapter 10, Slide 2

Definition
A proposal is a persuasive document designed to
motivate the reader to spend, make, or save money.
Kinds 
Internal – May take the form of
justification/recommendation report 
External – Solicited (responding to RFP) or
unsolicited (prospecting for business) 
Formal – long, many parts 
Informal – shorter, six main parts
Mary Ellen Guffey

Both large and small
companies today often
use requests for proposals
(rFPs) to solicit competitive
bids on projects.

Proposals are persuasive
offers to solve problems,
provide services, or
sell equipment.

Informal Proposals      

Introduction
Background
Proposal
Staffing
Budget
Authorization
request

Informal Proposals

Informal
proposals
are usually
presented in 2- to
4-page letters or
memos and have
six main parts.

See Informal Proposal on page 6 fig.10.1
Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e

Chapter 10, Slide 3

Formal Proposals

Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e

Budget
Staffing
Schedule
Background, problem, purpose

Introduction
List of figures

Table of contents
Title Page
Abstract or summary
Letter of transmittal
Copy of RFP (optional)

Copy of RFP
Letter or memo of transmittal
Abstract and/or executive summary
Title page
Table of contents
List of figures
Appendix

Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e

Chapter 10, Slide 4

Appendix
Authorization

Parts of Formal and
Informal Proposals 

Formal proposals include all the basic parts of
informal proposals but may have additional
parts. 
Possible additional parts:






• 

Introduction should provide “hook” to capture
reader’s interest. 
Background section identifies problems and
goals of project. 
Proposal discusses plan and schedule for
solving existing problem. 
Staffing section describes credentials and
expertise of project leaders. 
Budget indicates project costs. 
Authorization asks for approval to proceed.

Generally appear in both
formal and informal proposals:

Optional in informal proposals:

Chapter 10, Slide 5

MaryMary
EllenEllen
Guffey,
Guffey,
Essentials
Essentials
of Business
of Business
Communication,
Communication,
8e 8e

Chapter
Chapter10,
1, Slide 6

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Slide 9 Generating Primary Data Surveying Experimenting Observing Interviewing Mary Ellen Guffey. 8e Chapter 10. conduct trial.  Consider searching blogs. MaryMary EllenEllen Guffey.Present the final report Illustrate report data Researching Secondary Data Research secondary data Generate primary data Formal Reports Organize report data Print Resources Electronic Databases  Books  Periodicals  Bibliographic indexes such as Reader’s Guide  Collections of magazine. Slide 10 Generating Primary Data Surveying  Develop questions.  Use quotation marks. Essentials of Business Communication. Essentials of Business Communication. Slide 11 • EBSCO Business Source Premier • Factiva • ABI/Inform • LexisNexis Mary Ellen Guffey. Mary Ellen Guffey. 8e 8e Chapter Chapter10.  Prepare objective.  Consider posting an inquiry to an Internet newsgroup. Essentials of Business Communication. 8e Chapter 10. 8e Chapter 10. newspaper.  Watch the time. Slide 8 Web Search Tips and Techniques  Use two or three search tools. 1.  Use nouns as search words and as many as eight words in a query. Slide 7 Researching Secondary Data The Web  Product data  Mission statements  Staff directories  Press releases  Company news  Article reprints  Employment information  Facts of all kinds  Blogs (weblogs) for consumer reviews and opinions Mary Ellen Guffey.  Omit articles and prepositions. 8e Chapter 10.  Maintain a professional attitude. Essentials of Business Communication. Mary Ellen Guffey. friendly questions.  End graciously.  Proofread your search words. Essentials of Business Communication.  Work in person or online. and social networks.  Save the best.  Keep trying. Interviewing  Locate an expert.  Prepare for the interview. 8e Chapter 10. Essentials of Business Communication. journal articles  Examples Document data Guffey.  Understand case sensitivity in keyword searches. wikis. Slide 12 .  Know your search tool. Essentials of Business Communication.

opinions.  Quantify observations.Generating Primary Data Documenting Data What to document Observing  Be objective. Essentials of Business Communication. Slide 15 Levels of Headings in Reports  The main points used to outline a report often become the main headings of the written report. Slide 18 . Essentials of Business Communication. Essentials of Business Communication. • Major headings are centered and typed in bold font. examples. 8e Chapter 10. 8e Chapter 10. 8e Chapter 10. and graphics that are not common knowledge  Quotations of another person's actual spoken or written words  Paraphrases of another person's spoken or written words Mary Ellen Guffey. Essentials of Business Communication. 8e Chapter 10. Slide 14 Organizing Report Data Mary Ellen Guffey. Essentials of Business Communication. • Second-level headings start at the left margin. Experimenting  Develop rigorous research design. Essentials of Business Communication. Slide 17  Another person's ideas. • Third-level headings are indented and become part of the paragraph see page 7 fig 10.3. 8e Chapter 10. 8e Chapter 10. or theory  Any facts.4 Mary Ellen Guffey. Mary Ellen Guffey. Slide 16 Illustrating Report Data Reasons to use visual aids  To clarify data  To summarize important ideas  To emphasize facts and provide focus  To add visual interest Mary Ellen Guffey. statistics. and page 8 fig 10.  Pay careful attention to matching experimental and control groups. Slide 13 Organizing Report Data Mary Ellen Guffey.

8e Chapter 10. 8e Chapter 10. Slide 19 Matching Visual Aids With Objectives To show exact figures and values Mary Ellen Guffey. Essentials of Business Communication. and illustrations Mary Ellen Guffey. Slide 21 Matching Visual Aids With Objectives Mary Ellen Guffey. Essentials of Business Communication. 8e Chapter 10. 8e Chapter 10. Slide 20 Matching Visual Aids With Objectives 2009 Bar Chart Line Chart To compare one item with others Mary Ellen Guffey. 8e Chapter 10.Matching Visual Aids With Objectives Illustrating Report Data Table Most common types of visual aids  Tables  Charts  Photographs. Slide 23 Mary Ellen Guffey. Slide 22 Matching Visual Aids With Objectives Flow Chart To display a process or procedure Pie Chart To visualize a whole unit and the proportions of its components Mary Ellen Guffey. Essentials of Business Communication. Slide 24 . 8e To demonstrate changes in quantitative data over time Chapter 10. Essentials of Business Communication. maps. Essentials of Business Communication. Essentials of Business Communication.

8e Parts of Formal Reports Body of Report Chapter 10. Communication. Place the graphic close to where it is mentioned. the content. or to show an item in use. Map. 8e Chapter 10. references. Consider the reader. Don’t overdo the color or design. Slide 26 Parts of a Formal Report  Evaluate the audience. 1. Slide 27 Parts of a Formal Report Mary Ellen Guffey. Essentials of Business Communication. Prefatory Parts  Title page  Letter of transmittal  Table of contents  List of figures  Executive summary  Choose an appropriate caption or heading.Matching Visual Aids With Objectives Matching Visual Aids With Objectives Organization Chart Photograph. Essentials of Business Communication. Slide 28 Bibliography Appendix Recommendations Conclusions Body Introduction Executive summary List of figures  Introduction or background  Discussion of findings  Summary. Slide 30 . 8e Chapter 10. or bibliography  Appendix Mary Ellen Guffey. 8e To achieve authenticity. Illustration To define a hierarchy of elements or a set of relationships. 8e Chapter 10. Essentials of Business Communication. recommendations Table of contents Letter of transmittal Title page Cover Supplementary Parts of a Formal Report Generally appear in both formal and informal reports:  Footnotes or endnotes  Works cited.  Be accurate and ethical. don’t distort the visuals. Slide 25 Tips for Effective Use of Visual Aids Mary Ellen Guffey. Mary Ellen Guffey.  Introduce graphs. Use functional or talking headings. (See Chapter 9. to spotlight a location. Essentials of Business Communication. Slide 29 Optional in informal reports: MaryMary EllenEllen Guffey. Essentials of Business Communication. Essentials Essentials of Business of Business Communication. Cite sources when using someone else’s facts and data. your schedule.) Mary Ellen Guffey.  Use restraint. and your budget. Explain its significance. 8e 8e Chapter Chapter10. Double-check your graphics. Chapter 10. Guffey. conclusions.

1 Informal Proposal Chapter 10: Proposals and Formal Reports .Figure 10.

Unlimited liability (first subdivision of Topic B) 2. Personality conflicts (second subdivision of Topic B) . Management talent (second subdivision of Topic A) 3. Disadvantages of partnership (second subdivision of Topic II ) 1. Access to capital (first subdivision of Topic A) 2.1 Continued Figure 10. Disadvantages of sole proprietorship (second subdivision of Topic I ) 1. Minimal capital requirements (first subdivision of Topic A) 2. Limited management talent (second subdivision of Topic B) A. Control by owner (second subdivision of Topic A) B. Advantages of partnership (first subdivision of Topic II ) 1.Figure 10.3 Outline Format A. Unlimited liability (first subdivision of Topic B) 2. Ease of formation (third subdivision of Topic A) B. Advantages of sole proprietorship (first subdivision of Topic I ) 1.

Figure 10.4 Levels of Headings in Reports .