To write a report for work, you need to know what the company expects and how they want it delivered. If you don’t, your report will be inaccurate and incomplete. You’ll also miss deadlines and make mistakes while preparing the document. Worse yet, if you’re not careful with formatting, graphics, or other details in your paper, there’s no guarantee that it’ll get read- which is why this article exists! Here are 10 secrets to writing an awesome report:
- Know what level of detail is expected from the audience.
This is especially true for company reports that are sent to clients. If they’re not given the proper level of detail, your audience will either be bored or overwhelmed by information overload. Be sure that you give them enough yet not too much detail in the appropriate sections.
- Know who will be reading the document.
This will help you tailor your writing style and level of detail to the audience. For instance, if it’s an annual report that will be read by senior managers at your company, then your document should be well-written and easy to read without any technicalities or other irrelevant content. On the other hand, if it’s a report targeted at an audience of experts who are familiar with the intricacies of your industry, then you can be specific and technical.
- Have a clear outline of what you’ll be writing about.
This will make your document flow logically and it’ll also give you an easy way of referring to specific sections, especially if they are buried deep within the document. If possible, read your paper aloud for better clarity on how it sounds.
- Include graphs when appropriate.
Whenever there is data to be presented, always use appropriate graphs or charts so that you have an easier time explaining the data. Also, whenever possible, avoid using acronyms in your titles and subtitles of sections so that non-experts can understand what you’re saying right away.
- Use bullet points for lengthy content.
This technique will make your readers scan the pages faster, allowing them to quickly find what they’re looking for. If you don’t want to use bullet points, then at least organize your content with sub-headings for easy reading.
- Create an outline of all the sections in your paper.
Although it may not be seen by anyone but yourself, it will guide your writing process and make it easier for you to come up with a solid structure for the document. It’s also a good idea to start writing at least an outline of your document before actually sitting down in front of the computer screen.
- Add detailed footnotes/endnotes for lengthy content.
This is especially important if you’re quoting information from other sources, providing evidence for your claims, or just sharing data that’s important to the reader.
- Keep a consistent writing style.
Re-write your document several times until it flows in your unique style. Doing this gives you confidence in what you are writing about and can also help you focus on the big picture instead of copying word for word.
- Double check everything before you submit your report.
This means looking out for grammatical errors, typos, and other mistakes which can make readers lose interest or miss important ideas in your document. It’s also good to read it aloud every now and then so that you can listen for awkward sentences and confusing wording.
- Don’t worry about perfection.
If all else fails, don’t be afraid to ‘cut your losses and just submit the report as it is now. If you try to fix everything before submitting it, then there’s a chance that you might miss deadlines or worse yet- miss out on important deadlines.
BONUS TIP: Venngage
Venngage is an online report maker that offers a wide range of various report templates that are helpful for people who don’t know what to do about their reports. To give you an idea, here are some report examples from Venngage.
Reports can be a great way to convey the information you need your audience to know. However, there are many things that go into creating an effective report and it’s important not to neglect any of them. One factor you need to consider is your report’s overall appearance — with Venngage, you can create your report hassle-free!