We may know that we’re supposed to target concision in our RFP response writing. We may even believe it. Where the trouble usually arises is knowing how to do it. One problem is that it can be hard to identify which words are extra. Enter the “dog puppy” rule. Read on for details . . .
Back in the early 14th century while I was taking my MBA, a professor with not much else to recommend him nevertheless did one thing of lasting value: he gave us an article reprinted from Toastmasters magazine. Titled “Dog Puppies,” it was about removing superfluous words from text. Some superfluity is from inherent redundancy (the [dog] puppies of the title): bald [headed], green [in colour], large [in size]. Some is from wordiness: [in order] to.
Dog puppies are still with us. I expect all writing would be better without them; certainly proposal writing would be. Whether there’s an editor on your proposal team or not, you can review your own work for wordiness.
And then you can change “This provides a quantitative measurement of . . .” to “This measures . . . .”
Or “This provides protection for . . .” to “This protects . . . .”
Or “This causes harm to . . .” to “This harms . . . .”
Or “This person is responsible for ensuring completion of the draft plan . . .” to “This person will draft the plan” or “This person will supervise the drafting of the plan” if that was what was meant. Bonus! Fewer words and clearer, to boot.