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EP053: The “Wordman” Shares MS Word Tips and Techniques to Make Your Life Easier – with Dick Eassom


Microsoft Word is the tool of our trade as RFP professionals, yet many of us claim we just don’t have time to master it. But learning how the program works ‘under the hood’ can save us from having a proposal document blow up in the eleventh hour. So, what would you rather spend your time doing?

Dick Eassom is a Certified Fellow of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals and Vice President of Corporate Support with management consulting firm SMA. He is also the Chief Word Officer with Wordman Speaks, an organization offering advanced Microsoft Word training and consulting services. Dick has 40 years of professional experience, 25 of which involve RFP creation and management. He is an in-demand writer and speaker on the topic of proposal publishing with Word, and Dick is a recipient of the APMP William C. McRea Founders Award.

Today, Dick joins us to discuss the problem with Word being deceptively easy to use and explain why we need rules and templates to compile content from different sources into one proposal document. He shares his analogy of Word as the tool of our craft as RFP professionals, challenging us to master the tool rather than fight it. Dick also shares his top techniques for using Word more effectively, describing how to make plain text our cut-and-paste default and use Proofing Options to write in active voice. Listen in for insight into why big words don’t win bids and learn how Word can help you write clear, concise proposals that evaluators understand.

Key Takeaways

  • Dick’s path to the world of proposals + his persona as Wordman

  • The problem with Word being deceptively easy to use

  • Why we need rules and templates for proposal documents

  • The issues around compiling content from different sources

  • Dick’s analogy of Word as the tool of our craft as RFP professionals

  • Dick’s frustration with the poor UX design of Word’s Dialogues

  • Dick’s top techniques for using Word more effectively

    • Make plain text default with File Options

    • Use Paste Options to bring in table grid

    • Use Proofing Options to show grammar

  • How to stop Word from ‘helping’ (e.g.: autoformatting lists)

  • How Word can help us improve proposals with active voice

  • How to use Word to write with more clarity and conciseness

  • How the ability to write macros in Word changed Dick’s life

  • Why it’s crucial to involve production people in RFP planning