My mission to South Africa was to be a Proposal Pioneer at the first ever AGM of the local APMP chapter. I even have a certificate to prove it. For those of you who don’t understand cryptic TLA’s, too bad – refer to the table of abbreviations on page 999 of the proposal I forgot to attach. So here I am with all the other pioneers – that’s me next to the flag in the front row. I’m glad I arrived by plane and car rather than by ox-wagon. Nor did I have to eat any of that vile beef jerky they call biltong. Bamboo shoots are hard to come by in Africa, but the locals were friendly and that tree in the background tasted good.
Sporting my new cap, I took some time off to go on safari to the local zoo. This elephant tickled my ear – how rude! Unfortunately my hectic globe-trotting schedule didn’t allow for a trip to the Kruger Park game reserve to see the rest of the animals known as the Big 5. And I’ll have to save Cape Town for next time. They say Table Mountain and the wine-lands are amazing. And the garden route sounds worth exploring. I fancy a pony trek in the Drakensberg and a beach holiday on the wild coast to unleash the wild panda within. I’ll be back for their first APMP conference!
Refreshed after my safari, I took the time to inspire Wendy Word, a local proposal witch. In my absence, she will continue the work I started. I shared with her some secrets on how to motivate bid teams in the dead of night and discouraged her from making potions for them to drink. Instead I showed her how to make a mean cup of coffee and explained what Red Bull does.
Wendy Word in turn told me about the NOSE she uses for persuasive proposals, and the 10 tips she trains nFold customers to use. I thought she meant her own pointy nose, but was too polite to ask. I’d forgotten all about Need Outcome Solution and Evidence to make my proposals more client-focused and differentiated. It never hurts to re-visit the basics, so I decided to brush up on Tom Sant’s persuasive methodology by reading his classic and his latest books. I liked his concept of avoiding the pseudo-languages: fluff, guff, geek and weasel, in “The Language of Success” and found it an easy read. Even my emails have improved.
As a famous bear, I’m quite used to the Paparazzi by now. But even I was stunned by how eager the local journalists are to meet me. Here I am motivating for a radio interview by phone. I have a few meetings planned with the local business community before I leave. And I’ve managed to round up a few more subscribers to my blog. Wendy Word has started a blog of her own. I guess we’ll compare notes from time to time. It’s great to have a new friend in proposals, even if she is a witch. And I guess that’s why the South Africans started the local chapter of APMP. There’s nothing like moral support to cheer one up. It’s nice to know you’re not the only bear trying to meet a proposal deadline – doing the impossible, with the unwilling, for the ungrateful.