5 Steps for better report writing21 Dec 2020
Whether you're a long-tenured manager who has been in the business for years or an entry-level hire fresh out of university, you likely have to write reports as part of your job. And while you may feel you have a pretty good grasp on the nuances of such an endeavour, it never hurts to strive for improvement and write those reports more effectively.
The reason for this is relatively simple: Report writing is one of the most important types of business writing in any workplace. Clear, effective communication is a must, whether the report is intended for internal or external use.
The following tips should help you ensure that every document you produce gets your point across as effectively as possible:
1) Think about the intended reader
When writing anything for anyone to read, you must first consider who that audience is going to be. For example, Monster notes you should ask yourself what you want anyone who reads the report to take away from it, and craft everything within it so that it all circles back to that salient issue. When you can keep hitting the same notes over and over, in a number of different ways, your point becomes clearer all the time.
Likewise, it would be smart to consider whether this is an inward-facing document (meaning you can use a lot more technical jargon) or outward-facing (meaning it has to be written with the public in mind).
2) Identify the key takeaways
Along similar lines, you shouldn't just aim to tell people something with your reports: You must also be encouraging them to take preferred next steps. For instance, once you have established that a certain issue is hampering or helping your business, you should use data and persuasive language to highlight what your readers should plan to do with that information.
3) Outline the entire report before you actually write it
In general, you will be writing these reports with all the information already at your disposal, meaning you can chart from A to B to C and beyond in terms of what you want to say. Indeed recommends you put together an entire outline before you write a single word of the report itself, so that you can keep hitting the points you intend to make.
4) Keep it concise
One thing you certainly don't want to do when writing a report — or any other business document — is go on for too long on any one subject or issue. You must be able to make your points quickly, easily and effectively, with simple data points and evidence included throughout to underscore your message.
5) Make it digestible
When writing a report of any considerable length, you would be wise to include an overall, one-page summary and a table of contents at the start, according to Visme. This gives people a taste of what they will learn as they read the whole thing, and also allows them to skip ahead to the aspects of the report that are most pertinent to their interests, if necessary.
Whether you want to make sure the newest hires are able to write great reports almost from day one or you want to brush up some old skills so you're always putting your best foot forward, ICML is here to help. Our Report Writing Training Course will help you get beyond the bland presentation of facts and figures and help your reports stand out as actually interesting and engaging. Get in touch today to learn more about how we can help.