6 Tips for More Effective Report Writing

Posted on: March 22, 2010

So, you need to write a report.

Almost every company and organization uses reports to communicate data and information to all sorts of internal and external audiences. Reports can be very useful tools in making decisions and taking action, if they are well written.

Here are six suggestions for making your reports more effective:

One, define your objective. What do you want to accomplish by writing this report? What is the single subject or problem you are addressing? You must have a specific purpose in mind, if you want to write an effective report.

Two, find out who your audience is and understand their concerns. This will help you formulate your strategy: which facts to include, and how to present them.

Three, focus on presenting facts and objective material. Keep the information detailed, concrete and on topic. Use tables and figures to present data. Include your sources.

Four, avoid speculation, subjectivity and displays of emotionalism. Maintain balance: one-sided partisanship will tend to alienate many of your readers and weaken your case.

Five, provide an introduction or executive summary. Many decision makers may not have the time (or inclination) to wade through pages of details. Some members of your audience will only want to get the gist of your argument. Also, if your report is longer than 15-20 pages, be sure to include a table of contents.

Six, close your report with a summary of the important information in the report, a conclusion drawn from the data and information you presented, and a recommendation of actions to take.

These suggestions will help your reports get the attention you want them to garner and make the desired impact.  Elizabeth Lexleigh  The Write Ideas  lexpower


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