Unofficial Oral Proposal Guide

An Oral Proposal By Any Other Name

First things first.

Mention oral proposals in the presence of a policy reviewer or legal counsel who’s a traditionalist and their shoulders will bow up, their jaws will tighten, and they’ll quickly tell you that the proper expression is “oral presentations in accordance with FAR Part 15.102.” Some will even misquote Part 15.102 to say that the correct terminology is “oral presentations of technical proposals.” If you forget and keep saying oral proposals, you can probably make a vein pop out on a reviewer’s forehead before their cheeks turn purple. I know—I’ve made it happen more than once.

Yes, the regulatory term really is oral presentations, not oral proposals. Like many regulations and policies, it was written with a particular experience in mind or a particular frame of reference. Does it matter which term you use?

In a hundred years? No.

In the grand scheme of life or national security or our fight to stay ahead of our adversaries? Nope.

I’ve found that oral proposals is actually a much clearer term for vendors to understand, especially if you’re utilizing this tool to the maximum extent possible. I’ll use oral proposals throughout this informal guide because we called it that back in 1996 when I first used this tool, and old habits die hard. Oral presentations is a much newer term, and in my opinion, it’s more nuanced than is necessary.

That said, if you insist on abbreviating the term in your formal documentation, you may suffer a few administrative write-ups in the clearance process. Your decision. There are so many more important things to care about, including your lead time.

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