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Technical Writing for Professionals: Proposals


Writing proposals — whether for funding, to win work, or presenting a novel approach to a problem — is a necessary skill for nearly all professionals. Understanding how to read the audience’s needs, and craft a proposal that persuades the reader that you are the right person or firm for the job, is essential to success in getting your work done. A well-written proposal is half psychology and strategy, half prose development.

The lessons on writing persuasively and engagingly will reinforce and build on those introduced in Technical Writing for Professionals. This latter course is recommended as a prerequisite for anyone with less than five years experience writing proposals. For those that have been writing proposals more than five years you have likely learned the more basic lessons through the ‘school of hard-knocks’.

NRTG is offering this one-day, fully-online Technical Writing for Professionals: Proposals course (TWPP) to help professionals, particularly those new to their respective fields, develop stronger and more compelling proposals. Our instructors will introduce and reinforce principles and ideas — concepts that apply across industries and disciplines — to create compelling, engaging and purposeful proposals. A sample of the course content includes:

  • Timelines and the need for time to create a good proposal
  • Understanding the reader’s needs and requirements
  • Costing and budgeting
  • Components of a useful proposal
  • Persuasive writing
  • Critical nature of editing and quality review

NRTG is pleased to customize this course, at no additional cost, for a group or specific audience of ten or more students. Customization consists of altering examples and exercises to be specific to the audience or, in the case of all students from a given company, to use company specific proposals to make the exercises and examples as relevant as possible to the students. Customizing for specific audience enhances the learning but the underlying content and premises — the principles of effective proposal writing — remain the same.

For further information, please contact us!

Each NRTG course includes free, lifetime admission. Enrol once – come back anytime.


I really enjoyed the technical writing class that you delivered to our team this July. It had been over 10 years since I was in an English class, and your course provided a great refresher in the basics of grammar, sentence structure, and paragraph flow. In addition to dusting off these skills, it inspired me to view my every day writing as an opportunity to communicate more effectively. I now see my daily emails, reports, and memos as practice for crafting something that is enjoyable to read. The course was hands-on and involved, I liked how we wrote and edited throughout. I found the timing and pace of the course to be appropriate and efficient. I recommend taking this course if you are interested in enhancing your writing skills in a technical workplace.

Emma Posluns – Biologist, Halifax NS

Really enjoyed, appreciated and benefited from a lot of what this course offered. Strongly recommend this instructor and course.

— Warren Littlejohn, Environmental Professional, Victoria BC

Valued the number of group and individual Technical Writing exercises, and the discussion on how to approach a new writing assignment.

— Stephanie Moloughney, Ecologist

Sean is a skilled presenter. One Technical Writing course exercise was terribly frustrating to start, but was a valuable experience in perseverance and value.

— Ryan Turner, Biologist, Prince George, BC

Really appreciated the emphasis on important principles and new updates and approaches to writing, as well as tips, tricks to better writing.

— Freda Shabrang, Community Planner, Campbell River BC

What I liked about this course was Sean’s ability to bring technical writing back to the basics – to remind us of the intent or purpose of writing, and to remind us on a basic level how to construct a sentence, a paragraph, and a narrative. Beyond the basics, he provided us with strategies for improving our writing through every stage of the writing process. My biggest takeaway from the course is a reminder that even technical, scientific writing can (and should!) be compelling, interesting, creative and persuasive.

Melanie MacDonald, Biologist Halifax NS

Great course, more hands-on that I was expecting and surprisingly, it was not dry material. Sean had lots of stories, quotes, exercises and tips and by the end of the two days, I had confidence that I wasn’t the horrible writer I had made myself out to be. Writing just takes work and practice like everything else. I’d love to take this course annually to re-inspire and refresh my writing skills.

— Jessica Hobden, Biologist, Kelowna BC

Strongly recommend this course and instructor!

— Kirk Miller, Wildlife Ecologist, Prince George BC

I learned a great deal in the Technical Writing course. Writing is a lot of work, and this course gave me a good base to keep growing from.

— Cam Dexter, Biologist, Nanaimo, BC

My writing has improved tenfold since taking the course, as well as my confidence. My supervisor and I have both noticed it – whether it is an email, summary letter, or full report, the flow is better and everything reads easier.

— Rachel Cullen, Biologist, Cochrane Alberta


By the end of this course, course participants will have the tools and strategies to:

  • Identify the needs of the client or funder and write to those needs.
  • Develop a proposal that is targeted and focussed.
  • Craft a persuasive proposal
  • Develop effective costing and budgeting strategies

Course Format

This one-day, 7-hour course is a highly interactive, classroom-based (online) instruction on crafting engaging and persuasive proposals. Course participants will complete a number of in-class assignments, exercises, group discussions and group teachings. This course equips students with hands-on tools and strategies to create more compelling proposals.

Potential Students

TWPP is targeted to an audience that writes these documents but are unsatisfied with the current text they produce, whether because they are unconvincing, not engaging, or, simply, not successful. By focussing on principles and offering customization to groups, this course is intended for a very wide array of students (working professionals in many disciplines, fundraisers, grant writers, graduate students, government, Indigenous stakeholders, etc.).


There are no formal prerequisites. For writers with less than five years developing proposals, the companion course Technical Writing for Professionals is recommended as a prerequisite. The latter course goes into greater depth of persuasion and engaging writing than we have room for in Proposals.

Personal Equipment Requirements

There are no personal equipment requirements for this course apart from access to a computer and internet for connectivity.

Course Fees

Course fees may vary by course delivery.  For further information, please refer to our Course Schedule.   

How do I Attend?

This course is available via our website schedule, or on contract to community groups. The TWPP course is regularly scheduled for community-based deliveries throughout the year (providing suitable weather).  Interested groups or organizations can also arrange for an ‘in-house’ or contract delivery of this online course.  In either scenario, contact NRTG for further information.

If you would like to have this course delivered to your group or community, please consider the following:

  1. Contact us well in advance of your preferred course start date
  2. If applicable, secure program funding
  3. Recruit course participants (most NRTG courses have minimum enrollments of 10 participants)
  4. Coordinate a contractual agreement with NRTG.

Note: see Course Customization above for other options to bring this training to your organization and/or community. 

Instructor Profile

Sean Mitchell, PhD, R.P. Bio.

Sean has worked in and studied the field of biology and impact assessment since 1987 and in that time has gained experience in four Canadian provinces (British Columbia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland) working on a broad array of fish and wildlife, from periphyton to mammals. Sean’s experience has ranged widely from basic fieldwork to experimental biomechanics of crustaceans; from environmental impact analyses and fisheries issues through biogeography, philosophy, and sophisticated data analyses and modelling; from forests to the ocean. Sean has been, and strives to remain, a generalist in a world of hyper specialization and fascination with technology.

Sean’s chosen career has required continual writing during his professional life, including more than fifty contract reports, two academic theses, and twenty-three professional, peer reviewed papers. However, in addition to a requirement for his work, writing is a passion for Sean. He has written articles and short pieces for non-technical audiences and is currently working on three book projects (two non-fiction; one novel). Sean brings tools and strategies from other forms of writing to technical writing. He strongly believes, and propounds, that studying the processes which fiction and creative writers use can greatly help our technical writing abilities and efficiencies.

To teach a writing course requires some experience in teaching as well as writing. Sean has taught six biology courses at universities in Nova Scotia and British Columbia, ranging from first to third year, and from introductory biology to field school. He now brings the tools and strategies learned from these experiences to this writing course to create a valuable learning experience to the student.

Frequently Asked Questions

NRTG offers this course online approximately every two to three months in an online format year-round. Please refer to our Schedule page for course timing.

Technical Writing for Professionals: Proposals is a one-day course comprised of lectures interspersed with exercises and examples.

Students are requested, if possible, to have a proposal they are working on with them in order to apply the lessons directly to their own work. Apart from this, students will want a form of taking notes, whether they prefer pen-and-paper or computer is up to each individual.

Technical Writing for Professionals: Proposals is one in a series of specific and focussed courses (the two others being (i) report writing and (ii) resumes and cover letters) designed to assist students to write more effectively within a single application of technical writing. In contrast, the broader Technical Writing for Professionals is intended to assist students improve their writing across a wide range of applications. It is, therefore, high level, and focussed on tools that are generalized across all technical writing. 

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