If you work in a company, most likely you’d need to write business reports of one type or another, from time to time. The good thing is, writing is a learnable skill. For this, you’d need the correct steps and practice them as often as possible.
Follow these 5 steps on writing great business reports.
First, define the purpose.
A thesis statement is required for essay writing. In business report writing, the purpose must be defined early, so the whole process can be streamlined, and essential aspects are addressed accordingly.
Ask yourself, what’s the purpose of this report? Who are the target readers? What’s the call to action needed? These 3 questions should be answered clearly early from the beginning.
Second, create an outline.
An outline is the skeleton of your report. Once you have it developed, you’d be able to fill in the blanks within the framework. It’s crucial to ensure that the report would remain on track, which is especially useful if you tend to ramble.
For the outline, create questions that start with what, when, where, when, why, and how. Next, answer them in the order that flows naturally. You can include several sentences or paragraphs per answer, depending on the type of report you’re writing. And you can include or not include the questions in entirety. You can even turn them into headlines for better readability.
Third, organize the ideas in a structure.
Start with the purpose of the report in the introductory section. Next, describe what the issue/problem/announcement is about, explain the results (if any), and be clear about what you expect the readers to do (call to action).
Organize the ideas with bulleted points and numbered lists to make it easier to read. Format the pages with a 1-inch margin on all 4 sides and use either hanging or block indentation. Nicely-formatted reports are likely to be well read.
Fourth, use plain, clear, and concise language.
Write as concise and as clear as possible. Delete unnecessary words. Write as simple as possible.
Refrain from sounding complicated and overly sophisticated with technical and industry jargons that only a few people understand. Aim at Grade 8 reading level, which you can check with the free Hemingway app.
Fifth, edit, revise, read, and proofread.
Have the report read by at least one person other than yourself. How does he or she find it? Next, edit, revise, and proofread. Use an editing app like ProWritingAid to check for grammatical and stylistic issues before handing it over to your manager or having it distributed.
At last, writing great business reports isn’t reserved for those with talent, but it’s doable with practice and the right editing tool. Start with those 5 steps.
About the Author
Jennifer Xue is an award-winning author, columnist, and serial entrepreneur based in Northern California. She is also a digital strategist for several e-commerce and app companies. Her byline has appeared in Forbes, Fortune, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Business.com, Business2Community, Addicted2Success, Good Men Project, Positively Positive, and others. Her blog is JenniferXue.com.