Reflections on APMP Bid & Proposal Con 2016
APMP-NCA scholarship award winner Hannah Bauman, Proposal Coordinator of ACE Info Solutions, Inc. reflects on her experience.
As a member of APMP-NCA’s Mentor-Protégé program, I was one of the lucky five who received a scholarship to attend the 2016 APMP Bid Con in Boston. I’m relatively new to the proposal world; I just started as a coordinator last September. Already, I’ve managed RFIs and proposals, learned the lingo, and begun studying for my Foundations certification. My background is varied, from a journalism internship in London to editorial work at the Florida Senate to online editing and publishing to social media marketing, and I thought I’d seen it all until I entered the proposal world.
Some of the breakout sessions I attended covered bid-no bid decisions, reducing stress during the “death march” of proposals, social media, writing, and more. While all of the sessions I attended at Bid Con were interesting, two talks in particular left me feeling invigorated, refreshed, and eager to put my new knowledge to use.
Beth Wingate’s session “Hashtags, Mentions, Endorsements? Oh My! How to Use Social Media to Build Your Personal and Corporate Brand” proved to be one of the most insightful for my professional development. In the era of the Internet, branding yourself and your company are essential. I know this in theory, but I certainly haven’t mastered either in practice. It’s the stuff everybody talks about but nobody teaches you, and in today’s connected world, it’s not something to be behind on. Going into the session, I had a working understanding of branding for Facebook and Twitter, so the information and suggestions she had for LinkedIn were the most insightful for me. Connecting with colleagues and old college classmates is easy, but I never would’ve guessed that LinkedIn has analytics, or groups of like-minded professionals, or that it could serve as a platform for promoting yourself and your company. Beth’s suggestions and experiences for making the most of social media left me reconsidering my personal brand and gave me actionable steps to assist with my employer’s expansion into social media.
As a seasoned writer and editor, I’ve run into the same problem as other proposal professionals: writing. Writing is hard, even when it comes naturally, and Samantha Enslen and Christy Roach Hollywood’s session “Writing Proposals Without the Pain” assured the attending APMP members that writing doesn’t have to be difficult. They taught attendees a new planning technique called mind mapping, a practice that allows you to get ideas onto paper without pressure or judgement. It’s a pre-outline phase to writing, and the ladies had us create our own mind maps that we turned into functioning outlines. I’ve already put this into practice at work and at home, and I’ve become a more productive writer since learning this technique. While it might not work for everyone, mind mapping has made writing easier and less stressful, a rare and treasured thing in proposals!
Besides attending various educational sessions, I had the opportunity to meet with proposal professionals from all over the world. The networking and education provided at this conference were a unique opportunity that few other conferences could offer, and I can’t wait for the New Orleans conference next year. Thank you again to APMP-NCA for giving me the opportunity to attend Bid Con 2016. See you all next year!