Writing Persuasive Business Proposals
Business Writing • Persuasion • Engagement

Seminar Instructor: Clay Spinuzzi, PhD
Upcoming Course Dates: October 26, 2018 (8:30 am – 4:00 pm)

In this course, participants will examine business proposals as persuasive arguments. Through a guided process, participants will take existing proposals apart, examine their underlying components, and learn how to reconstruct them in ways that make the proposals more effective.

Course Description

This course empowers participants to understand and utilize business proposals as persuasive arguments.

This seminar adopts a hands-on approach: Through a guided process, participants will take existing proposals apart, examine their underlying components, and learn how to reconstruct them in ways that make the proposals more effective.

Participants are invited to bring in current or former cases from their professional experience to work on in the seminar.

Using a proven methodology for developing these types of documents, participants will generate basic proposal arguments based on a case study presented in the course.

This case study will allow participants, working in small groups, to identify key problems; generate components of the proposal; analyze stakeholder dynamics; tie these complex elements together into a coherent, easily comprehensible argument; and outline a proposal based on this groundwork.

Finally, the class will apply these new tools to actual cases brought in by participants.

After this seminar, participants will be able to:

  • Understand basic proposal structure and logic.
  • Identify basic proposal sections and understand how they work together.
  • Clarify and identify objectives.
  • Develop a methodology for reaching the objective.
  • Perform audience analysis by identifying stakeholders, investigating their concerns, and weighting criteria accordingly.
  • Connect your team’s qualifications with the specific requirements implied in the situation and methodology.
  • Develop structured benefits that address the situation.
  • Tie these complex elements into a coherent argument.
  • Learn how to rework an ill-defined problem into an effective proposal.
  • Pour all this information into a basic proposal format.

Details & Registration

Location: AT&T Executive Conference Center, UT Austin Campus
Upcoming Courses: October 26, 2018
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Seminar Pricing

  • Standard Registration: $1,000
  • Early Bird Registration: $750 (first 10 participants)
  • UT System Staff/Alumni Registration: $650
  • Educator/Nonprofit/Government/Military Registration: $650
  • HDO Master’s Program Alumni: Free
  • Group Pricing
  • Certificate Seeker Discount

Seminar Fee Includes:

  • Course Registration
  • Parking
  • WiFi Access
  • Lunch
  • Refreshments
  • Course Materials

If you have questions prior to registering, please see our Professional Training FAQ or contact Lewis Miller, HDO’s Marketing Coordinator, at lewismiller@utexas.edu.


Please select your preferred date below:

Enrollment: October 26, 2018
Course Leader(s)

Clay Spinuzzi is a Professor of Rhetoric and Writing at UT Austin. Dr. Spinuzzi leads HDO 386: Persuasion and Argumentation in the HDO Master’s Degree program. He has presented at industry conferences, including SXSW, and recently led a SXSW core conversation on communication in distributed workplaces. His research focuses on how organizations circulate and coordinate information to solve complex problems.

Dr. Spinuzzi has published several award-winning articles and four books: Tracing Genres through Organizations (MIT Press, 2003), Network (Cambridge University Press, 2008), Topsight (Amazon CreateSpace, 2013), and All Edge: Inside the New Workplace Networks (University of Chicago Press, 2015).

Who Should Participate?

The majority of participants in our Seminars and Certificate Programs are mid- and upper-level professionals working in the business, nonprofit, government, or military sectors; however, professionals at all levels of experience are welcome to participate. There are no prerequisites for enrolling in an HDO Professional Seminar.

While all HDO Seminars are developed with wide-ranging applicability in mind, the following individuals and groups will likely find Writing Persuasive Business Proposals most directly relevant to their work:

  • Senior/Executive Leadership
  • Managers and Directors
  • Team Leaders & Supervisors
  • Fundraising and Development Professionals
  • Proposal and/or Grant Writers
  • Report Authors/Editors
Out-of-Town Participants

For participants coming in for seminars from outside the Austin area, there are several hotels near campus, many within walking distance.

HDO recommends the following hotels:

HDO works with these many of these venues on a regular basis. If you need assistance selecting a hotel, please contact Jessica Crawford, HDO’s Senior Administrative Associate at jessica.crawford@austin.utexas.edu.

On-campus parking is covered for all participants for the day of their seminar. For transit information, please visit Capital Metro’s website.


Viewing a proposal as a Hero’s Journey – with the client as the hero – has already helped me re-frame materials I’m working on. What an innovative and powerful foundation! I finally understand the purpose and necessity of repetition throughout a proposal, and the analysis of the roles among proposal reviewers.

– Brandy Whitten, Senior Administrative Associate, University Health Services, UT Austin


I’ve been in Executive Management for over 20 years. The courses I took in the HDO program helped me to gain a fresh perspective on management; specifically, on how people work. I highly recommend taking a seminar or obtaining a certificate in this program.

– Dorothy A. Benavidez, Executive Vice President, CRAssociates, Inc.




Human Dimensions of Organizations (HDO): Higher Education at The University of Texas at Austin offering an Executive Master's Degree, Professional Training programs, and a Bachelor's Degree