Proofreading is one of the most important and yet overlooked aspects of tendering. Carrying out those all-important checks prior to submission is vital. It’s a final step that a surprising number of suppliers overlook.
We all know that when we’re writing, it’s possible to become blind to our own mistakes. Hence why it’s a great idea to get someone else to check over your work. The more eyes the better! You might not think it, but a colleague looking at your work for the first time with fresh eyes and a fresh perspective will undoubtedly pick up on small mistakes that might otherwise cost you dearly. Even the best writers become blind to their own mistakes after having stared at the same piece of text for hours on end!
Proofreading doesn’t mean pulling apart your own, or someone else’s work for the sake of it. Rather, it is a great opportunity for your content to be constructively criticised. Then, adjusted and improved before the buyer evaluates it.
There are 3 things to remember when proofreading:
One – Know your deadline!
Proofreading requires time, precision and attention to detail. It’s all about picking up on small errors in grammar, punctuation, coherency and accuracy (as well as potentially bigger mistakes of course!). Some of these you won’t spot if you’re rushing to meet a deadline and simply skimming over the work. So, never leave reviewing and proofreading work to the last minute and always allow for a few rounds of drafting. It might be painful and often quite fiddly, but it’s better to get things right than to lose marks because of an easily avoidable error.
Two – Change your reviewer
Always get other people to review your work and lend a hand to review theirs! This could be your boss, your colleague, an external consultant, or even an apprentice. Indeed, many organisations feel that having junior level staff review their responses helps to cut through potentially overly-technical language or superfluous rhetoric.
It helps to be clearer and more direct. Remember that just because someone doesn’t necessarily have the technical knowledge to write a bid, doesn’t mean that they won’t have some valuable input and advice when it comes to the proofreading stage.
For example, if junior members of your own team don’t fully comprehend what you’re saying, how will buyer who may not know anything about your company or sector? This helps you retain clarity, focus and precision in your answers.
Three – Use the evaluation matrix
Buyers typically provide an insight into how they will be evaluating your work. This is something which is especially important in public sector procurement. This usually takes the form of a table that shows the scoring method and details what exactly needs to be covered in each response in order to score the highest marks.
Use this to your advantage and make sure when you’re reviewing work that you are reviewing it in the way the buyer would. It’s difficult but you need to be brutal and ask yourself, “Am I fully answering the question?”; “Am I ticking the boxes of the evaluation matrix?” If the answers to these questions are no, then some rewriting is needed.
Always have someone else in your team “act” as the purchaser. You can then ask them to evaluate your responses based on the criteria set out in the specification or evaluation matrix. Remember, another person will read your work with more of a critical eye.
Our dedicated Tender Consultants offer a Tender Mentor service, starting from a fixed rate of £295, which provides you with a full review service, ensuring your work is proofread and guaranteed minimal errors ready for submission. Get in touch today!