Effective titles give potential project audiences direction, clarity and a reason to continue reading the information contained in the body of your report. Good titles also define a project, summarize contents in a succinct way and serve as the first element of an organized presentation. Poorly written titles can mislead readers, confuse the purpose of the proposal and be ineffective.
Make Specific Titles for Projects
While a project title should grab attention, it shouldn’t be obscure or hard to figure out, which can result in confusion. If a project has a formal name, include it in the title, using a sub-heading if it’s a complex title or longer than half a dozen words. For example, a simple yet non-descriptive capital campaign project title is, “Capital Campaign” or, “Annual Building Campaign.” A better bet is, “2019 ABC Corp. Capital Funding Proposal” or “Building a Brighter Future: 2019 ABC Capital Campaign.” These titles note the date, the project name and the identifying theme.
Short and Sweet
It’s OK to be catchy with a project title, particularly if a project is informal in nature. For example, a project to organize a junior prom could have an attention-grabbing title such as, “Get Your Groove On” or “Dance, Dance, Danc_e.” Knowing an audience is essential to using short and attention-grabbing titles. Written proposal title pages should include a brief descriptor if the project name is not in the title itself. For example, in this case, including, “J_unior Class Proposal for Prom Venues” below the main title lets readers know what the project refers to.
Avoid Vague Project Proposal
Being vague in a project title can lead to frustration, both for yourself and others who need to access the information. For example, whether you’re organizing project files for your household or your office, a project file titled, “Bills to Pay” is not as effective as, “2019 Household Utilities” and, “Training Ideas” is not as useful as, “Customer Service Improvement Seminar Ideas.” Aim to make your project titles user-friendly.
Put a Spin on the Title
If you’re writing a project title for an undertaking or proposed action that will be presented to others, the title is a good place to put a spin on your proposal and make it persuasive. For example, “Office Supply Cost-Cutting Proposal” or “Family Vacation Savings Plan” both explain the heart of the project while hinting at the benefits of following the plan. Use positive verbiage to solicit buy-in for the project before the reader even delves into the project summary.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.