Make Your Business Proposal Or Report a Pleasure to Read

You pick up a business proposal or report, open it up and begin to read. You wince. The content may be absolutely fine but the way it looks-it just doesn't support the content or have client appeal.

I used to write radio commercials.

People would look at the way I wrote them and wonder what I was doing.

You see, I always wrote in narrow columns-like newspapers and magazines.

I always broke the commercial into segments. If I wanted the announcer to make a break in the script, I began the next part of the commercial on a fresh line. It made it easier for the announcer to read the commercial, appreciate the nuances and then voice it as I wanted.

I do the same thing in the books I've written. Even if it's one column for the page, I tend to keep that column narrower. Why? Because I believe it's easier for the audience to read.

I had this confirmed one day when I spoke to the principal of a private school that prided itself on its innovative teaching methods.

The school insisted that written materials be delivered in narrow columns so that students could:

1. More easily read the material
2. Understand it better
3. Reread the material and remember it more effectively

If you want to check this out for yourself, try the following. Pick up one of those large, rectangular coffee-table books where the words are printed all the way across the page. See how hard it is to have your eyes follow that text and retain what's being said. Next, take a newspaper or magazine and see if it's easier to read and remember. When you've done that, compare the experience to reading the coffee-table book.

Think about this process as you go about writing up a business proposal or report, or delivering it as a Power Point, or similar presentation.

If you can make the simple process of reading and appreciating your proposal an easier and more enjoyable one, all things being equal, that's a factor in your favor.

Another point to bear in mind is the use of white space. I opt for more white space in a text wherever possible. Yes, sometimes you have to compress material to fit a page or a particular format. However, if you, or your designer can find a way to optimize the use of white space, the reader will find it a more enjoyable and productive experience.

Combine this white space with a narrower written column, now you've got a more effective and pleasing business proposal or report to deliver to the client.