Sarah Marriot lists some tips that teach you how to write reports that are clear, concise, accessible and effective.
1. In order to capture readers’ attention, try to put the most important words at the beginning of a sentence.
2. Write your report for the people who need the report information. People who read your reports are thinking how your information might be relevant to them and to their work.
3. Print your report and, in the margin, note the main message of each paragraph. This helps you to focus on the content and structure.
4. Several tools can help you to deal with a long or complex report, such as a Mind Map or Outline function in MS Word.
5. Take a look at similar reports within your organisation. Make a note of strengths and weaknesses and bear these in mind when you start writing.
6. If you’re editing a colleague’s work, you should only make changes if you feel that the target audience won’t get the message or that the report won’t achieve its objectives. You should be able to explain and justify any changes that you make.
7. If the report was commissioned by another person, make sure you agree on the objective. Email the objective/brief to the person who commissioned the writing – and save the approval email. If you are commissioning a report, ask the writer to email the objective/brief to you.
Public Affairs Ireland and Sarah Marriott have created a great practical Report Writing e-learning course to help you to create effective reports. The online learning course will give you the skills and confidence to focus on the main things, take fewer notes, create better reports and speed up the whole process. It will give you practical tips and provides the needed information to create successful reports.
Read more about the Report Writing course here
View Sarah Marriot’s other online learning courses:
Business Writing Skills
Sarah Marriott is a highly experienced trainer and former journalist who specialises in delivering writing-skills courses in the public and private sectors. Sarah has worked as a feature writer and a sub-editor in The Irish Times and has been involved in training Irish Times editorial staff. She is also a FAS-registered trainer, former lecturer on the MA in Journalism at Dublin Institute of Technology and author of Common Errors in Written English.