I recently reviewed proposals for a federal agency. It was a worthwhile use of my time for six key reasons:

1. I got to see examples of well-constructed proposals and some that were not so good. In the process, I picked up some tips I can apply if and when I respond to a federal RFP.

2. I was reminded that you can’t assume your readers are jargon junkies. Companies assume their reviewers share a fondness for acronyms at their peril.

3. Organization counts. I don’t care if a request for proposals is convoluted; your response shouldn’t be. A reviewer is likely to score your application higher if he/she can identify the key elements and follow your discussion.

4. Results count. Give me examples that demonstrate your expertise and how your work helped other clients.

5. It takes time to keep up-to-date. Serving as a reviewer gave me a glimpse into how others build their communications methodologies. Even one tiny takeaway is helpful.

6. My fellow reviewers were really smart people. Each brought his/her expertise to the table, and I learned from their perspectives.