BUSINESS WRITING LESSON: 8 Tips For Writing An Effective Business Report
or How to Business English Reports and Investment Analyst Reports
Reports are an extremely useful business communication tool. They may be aimed at an internal or external audience and designed for many different business purposes – including sales promotion or investment analysis. Follow these tips to ensure you can write clear reports effectively.
1. PURPOSE Think about the reason you are writing the business report. You need to gather all of the information that you will need in order to ensure that your information is accurate and reliable. This may mean that you have to talk to the people involved or you may have to carry out a research project.
2. ORGANISATION Once you have your relevant information, it is time to organize it. You must be sure that you limit your data to the goal of the report. You cannot let the scope of the report be expanded beyond the boundaries set. It is important to stay focused on the information at hand to make your report more relevant.
3. AUDIENCE Determine who your audience is so that you are able to craft the report according to their needs and backgrounds. This is important because you don’t want to bore your readers with information they may already be aware of. Also be careful of using jargon; If your audience does not have the technical background to understand these terms then make sure you annotate each item with a relevant explanation in an appendix.
4. CLARITY Draft your business report clearly with everything you have been asked to include. It is a good idea to include headings and subheadings so it will be easier to follow and enable your readers to isolate specific information. Remember the purpose of your report is to communicate information. Typical subheadings include Procedure, Reference, Recommendations, Findings and Conclusions. Keep in mind these may be different than ones you are asked to use which best reflect the purpose of the report.
5. COHERENCE Each section that you write will have a different purpose. Each paragraph will have one key idea but make sure that your ideas flow logically and that your message is coherent. Using short lists, charts or graphs will help your readers find the data they are looking for much easier.
6. LANGUAGE Write the report using strong English words that will motivate your audience. The sentences should be effective and properly arranged. It is important to use a good deal of white space along with effective headlines and short paragraphs for clarity. Avoid clichés and old-fashioned legalese vocabulary and phrases. You should focus on using Plain English and be Clear, Concise and Correct: Clear meaning, Concise sentences and Correct English Grammar.
7. REVIEW Proofreading is extremely important to be sure that you have conveyed the message of the report to your intended audience. Having another party read the report may also be helpful. Having another set of eyes may help you catch grammatical or spelling errors, factual omissions and organizational mistakes that you may have missed.
8. DISTRIBUTE When you distribute the report, it is important that you have all the documents as well as the attachments included and that each person that is supposed to have a copy of the business report is given one. If the report is restricted then make sure it is clearly marked as such.