Are you guilty of using run-of-the-mill, could-apply-to-anyone, can't-think-of-anything-better-to-write, make-the-reader-yawn phrases?

Probably – in fact, it’s darn hard to write compelling copy when you’re faced with a deadline, let alone having your day job to contend with.

So, which are the ones that should you avoid on your next tender response? How about these for starters (in no particular order):

  1. We are pleased to submit …
  2. … extensive/a vast wealth of experience …
  3. Our systems are second-to-none …
  4. … leading-edge technology …
  5. We believe/ consider…
  6. We can provide …
  7. Although we don’t [do XYZ], we …
  8. We will ensure …
  9. Whilst …
  10. We … we … we …

Now, we’re not saying that these are wrong, it’s just that there are better ways to express yourself.

Some of these culprits are too generic – they could be describing any old organisation – and give the feeling that you haven’t really put much thought into your bid. This is especially the case if you haven’t backed-up what you are saying with evidence or proof.

Others, such as Number Seven are just too passive. (We know it’s easy to fall into the trap of being slightly self-deprecating but you are competing for a contract, so turn that phrase around and focus on the positive).

Now, what about the use of ‘ensure’? Some would argue that a tender is a contractual document, so it pays to think carefully how you use ‘ensure’ to make sure you won’t have any issues with meeting your obligations post-tender award.

Why is ‘whilst’ on the list? While ‘whilst’ certainly has a fine pedigree, it’s one of those words that seems to almost always trip up or distract readers from your key message. Readers from the States also find it old-fashioned. Make it easy for your audience. Use simple words and phrases.

The last culprit on our list – starting every sentence with ‘we’ – is often a case of either a rush job, or a signal you’re not focusing much on your client’s needs. Read your content carefully, or have someone else do it for you. Find ways to restructure your statements so the emphasis is shifted from you to your client. After all, they’re the reason why you’re bidding, aren’t they?