Writing proposals and presenting proposals at the GA

Categories: Announcements, Discussion, Open Mic, Reflections

As a regular GA participant, I am seeing that some people are struggling with writing and presenting clear proposals.

Here are the problems that I see:

  • Too wordy: persuasive and explanatory sections go on and on; too much soapboxing.
  • No bottom line: lots of opinion-based commentary, but no final word on what it is you want people to do or to achieve
  • Lack of knowledge of the subject matter: sometimes only one presenter is aware of the issues; sometimes there are conflicting ideas about the issues amongst presenters; sometimes the presenters just don’t know what the heart of the situation is about.
  • Too many ideas presented at once: Two or three part proposals take more time to discuss and digest, and usually people accept one part but not the other – which leads to the failure of the proposal.  Keep It Simple, Silly.

Please do the following to make it easy for yourself:

  • Write the proposal jointly with two others.  Don’t just get their agreement, but get others to write it with you.
  • Vet your own proposal with a focus group; perhaps an existing committee, or a varied collection of people who can give you feedback.
  • Get others to give you opposing viewpoints/clarifying question that will arise so that you are prepared to defend or clarify your position.
  • Try to make your proposal fit on one page and limit the amount of paragraphs you use.  Choose one solid action that people can discuss and vote upon.

Please do the following to make it easy for us in the assembly to digest:

  • Mention your proposal before it is formally presented during General Announcements or during Action Announcements, so that people have a heads up.
  • When you present your proposal, circulate copies of it through the crowd.  Save paper by shrinking the proposal down so it can fit on a quarter-sheet of paper.  IT WORKS.
  • DO NOT KEEP TALKING AND TALKING.  Get to the point.

4 Responses to “Writing proposals and presenting proposals at the GA”

  1. karmarepair

    I agree with everything in this post. They teach Rhetoric in college for a reason. A proposal of more than 50 words, in Active Voice, is a proposal that probably won’t pass. There should be no need for Clarifying Questions !

    Another point: it’s not really clear how Proposals get on the docket for the GAs and there is nothing on the web site to tell you. As near as I understand, the presenters of a proposal bring it to the Noon meeting of the Facilitation Committee the day of the GA . Supporters PRESUMABLY also should show up before the GA and seek out the Facilitation Committee, but if you get as far as the Noon meeting, I’m sure you’ll get more. If any one knows HOW Proposals get on the docket, please post here for the rest of us.

  2. a_small_voice

    sure, if people have access to the web and to a printer.

    however, that will not make a badly written proposal any easier for everyone to understand and vote on.

  3. nikkinew

    Or maybe people can print out the proposal off website, prior to going to the GA. Just an idea. Cheers!