Report writing for success

Post by 
Emma Van Veluwen
Published 
May 25, 2020
A

s someone that spends her fair share of time working out of client offices, I can vouch for the value and experience of a well-written and presented report. Regardless of your technical expertise, a half-baked writing attempt can leave the wrong kind of lasting impression. No matter what the subject matter, business reports are yet another demand on your time. So how do you ensure that potential readers are more likely to consider the reports you submit? One answer is to apply a few simple tips to report writing.

Rationalise your thoughts

Prior to writing a report, rationalise your thoughts. The best report writers think ahead to make certain that their content progresses logically and clearly. In this regard, it can help to write the headings and subheadings of the report first. These provide a path that your writing can follow.

Adopt the right tone

After completing the headings and subheadings, make a conscious decision to use the correct tone in your report. The overriding impression to give readers is that you are professional and informed. To help achieve this effect, always be concise, accurate, and balanced.          

Be cautious about jargon

Jargon is often unavoidable in reports, but be wary. Jargon is constantly developing and readers may not always understand it. Unless you are confident about readers' knowledge of technical or specialised language, explain what an item of jargon means when you first employ it.

You can do this by adding an explanatory phrase between commas after the jargon. Similarly, don't assume that readers know abbreviations that you regard as obvious. If necessary, explain the meaning of an abbreviation in parentheses after you first write it.

Keep sentences short

Reports sometimes contain text that runs on for line after line without a full-stop in sight. Such sentences are difficult for a reader to follow because they often contain too much information. Keep your sentences short. Your writing style then comes across as succinct and confident.    

Organise your paragraphs

Each of your paragraphs should make a particular point. Too many ideas within one paragraph cause confusion. If this means that some paragraphs are no more than a few lines and others are longer, don't worry. Readers will appreciate that you are presenting well-organised content.  

Employ bullet points

When you need to present a series of items or actions, arrange them as a bullet point list. Alternatively, you can number such a list if you prefer. Try not to create a list that's too long, though, readers may lose interest. If your list has to be long, break it up with brief explanatory text or a subheading. These breaks provide readers with a welcome change of pace.

Make the report look presentable

There is a lot that can be done to the design of Microsoft Word and other design templates. Where possible, make your report look good. Choose a good colour and font palette, use graphs, charts, and photos to support the points made in your text. Conversely, use every opportunity within the document to explain your message. For instance, ensure that your text explains the purpose and content of the images you have chosen to include.

Reports should be easy to work through and understand quickly. By using the above guidance, report writers can ensure that they meet these requirements.

ARE YOU READY TO DEVELOP BETTER REPORTS?

Ellery Studios helps its clients deliver impactful report writing and design that is purposeful to the intended reader. If you have a project that needs some support, please contact us, we would love to hear from you.

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