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#946: Templates to Save Time and Increase Clarity

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, December 19, 2008
I think I spend too much time assembling proposals and reports. I am a reasonably fast writer but starting over for each client burns up time I'd rather spend doing other things.

Taking you at your word that you write fast enough for your standards, it is logical to see how you could write less. First, do you really need to include as much material in your writing product as you currently include? For example, does your prospect really want to read about your entire company history, all of your projects, and the third level project plan? Just because you want to write it doesn't mean the reader needs or wants it.

Second, don't write custom when repurposing can save a lot of time. This does not mean to copy a proposal or report and just do a global search and replace of the client name. It does mean planning your writing, using parts from other documents appropriately, followed by a final quality control. If you wrote it and it was good enough for a prior use, then it is probably good enough to get ahead of the writing task this time.

Tip: Templates. Invest some time after you do write something to parse the document and file away the components you could use again. Create templates of all the possible writing products you will need, complete with a detailed table of contents. You won't have to use all elements of this detailed template but you will have a full list from which to choose. Keep a folder (electronic) of parts of documents that you could use for each part of the template. Examples are short, medium and long summaries of past projects, descriptions of your quality control approach, and synopses of various trends in your industry or technical discipline. Be deliberate in setting up your resource library so you can assemble a first draft in far less time than you are currently spending.

© 2008 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  efficiency  writing 

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