Part 3. Tender Tips in Practice

Meeting with remarkable spacemen at Saatchi's

In Part 3. Tender Tips in Practice the focus is on the lessons learnt while working on a major tender with the team at leading food and beverage PR agency, William Murray, plus some links to other useful resources.

Style guide: every organization needs a Style Guide so that it written work conveys a consistently professional image to the outside world. Before soliciting content for your Tender document decide how you want it written. Read The Economist Style Guide for guidance.

Forms of address: use capital letters for Names, Titles, Teams and Headlines; use upper and lower case for subheads and after colons; single inverted commas for quotes and ‘special words’ and double inverted commas for speech, “I say I say”. And no full stop on short bullets

Mind your language: eliminate ‘that’ where possible and don’t use ‘&’; cut out superfluous words like ‘therefore’ and ‘in order to’ ; and use simple words like ‘use’ instead of ‘utilise’ and ‘with’ instead of ‘in conjunction with’

Designs on you: the design and print process needs to be fully understood. Have a schedule and process and share with stakeholders. Team leaders should ensure regular update meetings and that everyone sticks to the timetable to avoid extra expense in terms of time and money.

Make it easy: try and standardize on a format – all copy in Microsoft Word and images JPEG – and avoid adding other formats such as Excel which is not design friendly. If possible use portrait format as opposed to landscape. And avoid double-sided pages – they may not be so easy to read and create difficulties if pages need to change

100% Proof: make sure that you do all your editing and changing before supplying copy to the designer. For proofing, collate all changes and mark-up complete document. Ideally you should Adobe X  Pro which enables you to mark up corrections on PDFs

Beware numbers: if you need to refer to another part of the document or a schematic / appendices, DON’T use page numbers but simply give the name of the section. For example ‘See 5.1 Logistics’.  This way you avoid problems with page numbers changing when new copy or pictures are added.

Box pretty: check early on that your email system does not have a limit on the size of files that it will accept or that it is putting team emails into a hidden junk folder. If there are problems consider using an online service like

File disciplines: agree a standard format for naming and filing documents with time and date, which allows you to keep track of the latest version. For example if you are writing the 1.0 Executive Summary for BuyerCo tender you might call it: Buyerco.1.0 Exec Summary 1350 20Oct.

Follow the leader: ensure Bid Team Leader has absolute authority and the full support of the management team. Stakeholders within the organization need to be fully briefed on the nature of the tender, timelines, stage gates, and their responsibilities in supporting the bid.

Useful links

Successful Tendering Guide: The Tender Process produced by Invest Northern Ireland. 

10 Top Tender Mistakes and How to Avoid Them 

Ten Lovely Tips for Producing Great Tenders


Adobe Acrobat X Pro

Read on

In Part 1. Tender Tips for a Smooth Bid we take stock of the challenges involved in creating a successful tender.

In Part 2. Tender Loving Process there is an overview of the theory and process based on Successful Tendering Guide: The Tender Process produced by Invest Northern Ireland.


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