Business Writing Tip 35—The Essentials of a Good Report

In this post I want to give you some tips about the kinds of things to think about when you’re writing a report.

1.  Have a clear purpose

  • Are you writing to inform people of your ideas or to give them some information or facts?
  • Are you presenting the results of some research; drawing conclusions from information that you have found?
  • Are you making a recommendation—making improvements, suggesting changes?
  • Are you recording information for other people to have easy access to and use?

2.  Have a clear idea of your audience

Asking yourself some key questions will help you to decide on the language to use, how much information to include and how to present it.

  • Are they experts? If they are use appropriate technical terms
  • Are they familiar with the topic? If not, it’s best not to overload them with too much information
  • Are they busy? Think about the length of your report, and including an executive summary, summary of recommendations or lists of key points
3.  Make a road map

Before you start writing, develop a clear road map of the contents of your report. Put together a plan—write down some headings and subheadings. You can always change it as you go. Having a plan will help you:

  • Decide what order to put the information in
  • Remember all the things that you want to include

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