Friday, February 26, 2010

Now You are Speaking my Language

Growing up in rural Indiana I noticed people talked about the weather a lot. Did it rain, or not, and how much. One farmer might have gotten half an inch while another got seven tenths. And, depending on how dry it had been; lead to how much boasting the farmer who got a little bit more rain would become. And, obviously when your crops are dependent on the weather to grow and you are dependent on your crops for an income, then yes; the weather is an important aspect of daily conversation.

So one time this past summer my husband came inside from checking the rain gauge and seemed a bit puzzled because although he knew it had rained, there wasn’t any water in his gauge. My response back to him was, “Well it rained enough to lay the dust.” Disappointedly he said, “yes, but no one knows how much that is.” I smiled thinking of the many farmers back home who would have gladly accepted this answer and said, “The people who need to know…..would know.”

I tell you this quaint story of assumptions so that when you sit down to write a grant application you will do the exact opposite. I am sure that there are acronyms, slang and jargon that you use to call the processes or tools you work with daily. And while you and others in your industry or area of expertise may know exactly what you are referring to, a person reviewing your grant may not. Not always are grant review panels experts in the subject matter they review. Therefore, you need to make certain when putting together your grant narratives/summaries that you call items by the proper name and in some cases explain or go into more detail. This will ensure that the grant reviewer will understand what you are talking about and can fairly score your application.

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