There can be an overwhelming amount of information about a certain topic that a listener or reader simply cannot absorb within a short amount of time.That is why it is always better to consolidate the information you present so that listeners or readers can easily comprehend what you want to convey.
With that said, a report has been constantly used to convey consolidated information about a wide range of topics that concern or relate to the nature of business you are in. It is also often used in the academe to educate students and teachers alike about certain subjects. Thus, it has been proven as an effective tool to use when there is a need to convey a consolidated information about a certain topic to a collective whole.
Since a report conveys vital information, it is important to ensure that it has the essential elements and necessary information to convey the correct message. When making reports you should aim to present the information in a way that is understandable even to those with no expertise on the field. That is why you should know how to write an effective report regardless of the purpose it will serve. Listed below are some of the essential elements you should include in a report:
1. Analytical writing: A report basically presents consolidated data about a certain subject. Since it is already consolidated, some details related to the subject may be left out, that’s why it is analytical writing is necessary when writing a report. You have to pull out facts and discuss, or analyze, what this information means. Based on the analyses, a conclusion is drawn that will help the reader understand the message that you are trying to convey.
2. Appropriate length: Depending on the complexity of the subject, a report can either be short or long. However, it is important to remember that it should be able to include all the necessary information in order to make the subject more comprehensible to you and your audience. A general rule you can follow when writing a report is that it should be long enough to do the job and no longer.
3. Audience-centered: One of the main purpose of making a report is to let concerned individuals know about the progress of a current project or activity. That is why it is important to always consider what your audience’s level of comprehension is, expertise, preferred format, and so on. Make sure that you tailor the information and format of the report to your audience and the response you are trying to get from them.
4. Executive summaries: An executive summary basically summarizes the whole report so that the audience can immediately get the gist of what the report is all about without having to read from cover to cover. Thus, including it in any type of report is good way to help your audience have an increase understanding of the message you’re trying to convey.
5. Organized structure: Since a report can cover more than one thing about a specific subject, it is important to follow an organized structure. Doing so will allow you to maintain coherency with the whole report even though your report is already lengthy. Following a certain structure will also allow your audience to easily browse the report since they know where certain topics can be found helping you achieve your overall goal.
6. Variety: The consideration you set for the audience should help you decide which style or format to follow when writing the report. That’s why there should be illustrations such as charts, tables, etc. included to help better present data and to give the audience a break from all the words and paragraphs. However, if the information is too important you should write in full paragraphs, but if various information or data is being presented you can use bullet points or lists.
7. Powerful and persuasive writing: Some reports are written to present information or data that can affect certain decisions on the future. Furthermore, it is also used to prove a point. That is why it is important to write short sentences and a verb-based active style. In addition, you should also use simple but convincing words to elicit the response that you want from your audience.
It is important that ample amount of time is dedicated to writing a report to make sure that all the details that are necessary to be presented are all included. It is also important to be keen so that only accurate information are included on the report. And since it is an important document that informs specific audiences about developments, results, actions, etc., it should be made keenly and effectively. To help make sure you make a good report, here is a guide you can follow:
1. Understand what the report is for: A report can be about anything; it can be about updates, various proposals, results, and so on. That is why before starting the writing process, it is important that you know and understand what the report is for or what its purpose is. Knowing and understanding this beforehand ensures that you tailor how you write the report on the outcome that you want to achieve. In addition, this will help you ensure you provide the correct information to your audience.
2. Consider your audience’s preferences: Some audience prefer a certain format for a report and some prefer a certain writing style. It is best to consider what your audience prefers before writing the report so that you can tailor it to specifically fit their preferences. Doing this ensures that your message can get to them in a clear and understandable manner, which will help you achieve the primary purpose of the report.
3. Gather accurate data and information: Once you know the purpose of the report and what your audience prefers, you can start gathering the data and information that you need to include. Remember to only gather data that are correct and accurate so that your credibility remains intact. Moreover, you gather data and information from previous reports such as annual reports, monthly status reports, etc. or other documents that provide factual data about the subject you are trying to discuss.
4. Follow an organized structure: As mentioned, following an organized structure will make it easier for your audience to understand the data you have gathered regardless if it is complex or not. Thus, always follow a logical structure on how you can present the information about your topic. You can also consent to what specific structure your audience prefers so that you tailor it to their preference. Doing so will not only impress your audience but will also allow you to logically and systematically present information that will help you achieve your objective.
5. Proofread and edit: After you have written the report, make sure that you proofread and edit it so that no errors and mistakes will be included on the final draft. You should also let your teammates read and give corrections so that you can make sure you present a flawless report.
Now that you basically have an idea on how to make an effective report, here are additional tips and tricks you can follow to ensure you achieve your objective or purpose:
As you now know, a report can be used for a lot of things. Although its main function is to present information, what information you include highly depends on what it will be used for. Here is a list of some of the types of reports you can use specifically for a certain purpose:
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about reports:
A report is used to convey information about a certain topic. Results are usually compiled to make sure the audience can easily understand its gist. It focuses on transmitting information with a clear purpose, to a specific audience.
Here are the common contents of report: