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The Dos and Don’ts of Report Writing for Beginners: A Complete Guide

The dos and don'ts of report writing

Report writing is challenging, but it’s an important skill for future career growth. A well-written report demonstrates your ability to analyze information and communicate clearly, which can set you apart from other job applicants. It also shows that you’re willing to go above and beyond in order to help your company succeed.

But how do you know what makes a good report? What should be included? And what shouldn’t? If you’re feeling confused about the dos and don’ts of report writing, this guide will give you everything you need to know about creating effective reports that leave a positive impression on your reader.

Before You Start Writing

Before you dive into writing your report, make sure you have a clear understanding of the task at hand. If you’re writing a financial report, make sure you understand the numbers and data you’re interpreting. If you’re writing a marketing report, make sure you understand the goals of the campaign.

It’s important to ask questions if something isn’t clear. If you’re writing a research report, you may have to spend time researching and collecting data before you begin writing. This can be a lengthy process, depending on how much data you need. You may want to break up your report writing into multiple sessions to prevent burnout.

Summarize the information you’re presenting

A good report starts with a clear summary of the information you’re presenting. This will help your reader understand the context and importance of your report. It can also help you avoid writing a report that’s too long. When summarizing the information you’re presenting, be sure to avoid generalizations and keep your summary concise.

You don’t want your summary to take up as much space as the details of the report itself. If your report is based on data collected from a survey, create a table or chart to summarize the data. This will show your reader that you’ve taken the time to analyze the data and present it in a clear, visual way.

Use clear language and sentence structure

The language you use in your report is important. You want to use clear language that’s easy to understand, even for readers who aren’t familiar with the industry you work in. Doing so will help your readers understand the importance of your report and the impact it can have on the company.

Avoid using jargon and acronyms that only your team members would understand. If you use industry-specific terminology, be sure to clearly define it in the report, preferably in parentheses after the first mention of it. If you use acronyms, be sure to define them in your report, preferably in footnotes at the bottom of the page.

Your sentence structure should flow smoothly. Ideally, you’ll want to avoid long sentences and double negatives. Instead, use short, concise sentences that clearly describe one idea at a time. A good rule of thumb is to keep each sentence under 20 words.

Provide recommendations and next steps

A report is more than just a summary of the data you collected. It should include a call to action and recommendations for how the information can be used to improve the company. This is the best way to show your reader that you’ve thought critically about the information you’ve presented and how it can be used to help the organization.

If your report is based on research or survey data, you may want to include suggestions for how the company can use the information to reach its goals. For example, if your report analyzes the impact of a new product or marketing campaign, you may want to include recommendations for how the company can use the information to increase sales.

Don’t use long sentences or paragraphs

A well-written report is easy to read, not hard to slog through. You want to use simple language that’s easy to understand. If your report is more than a couple of pages long, you may need to go back and simplify your writing. You also want to avoid long sentences. Ideally, you’ll want to keep each sentence under 20 words. If you have a complex topic to cover, you may want to break it down into multiple subheadings. This will help keep your report easy to read and understand.

Don’t introduce new information halfway through the sentence

New information should only be introduced at the beginning of a sentence, preferably at the beginning of a new paragraph. If you introduce a new idea in the middle of a sentence, you run the risk of confusing your reader and making your report longer than it needs to be. Instead, break the new information into its own sentence or subheading. This will help keep your report organized and easy to read.

Don’t use unnecessary jargon and big words

While you don’t want to use jargon and acronyms in your report, it’s important to use a professional tone. You want your report to show that you’re a serious worker who’s invested in the success of the company. And one way to do that is to avoid awkward and informal language.

While you don’t want to use jargon or big words just for the sake of sounding more technical, you do want to make sure your report is written at a high level. This means using a vocabulary that’s appropriate for your industry and position. You can use WordHippo to search for more appropriate words to use.

Don’t use excess adverbs

Adverbs, like other adjectives, can help you write compelling, descriptive sentences. However, you want to avoid using them to excess. Writing with too many adverbs can make your report sound overly dramatic and melodramatic. A report is meant to be a clear summary of information and data. Too many adverbs can muddle this and make your report sound overly dramatic and melodramatic.

Make sure your recommendations are actionable

Your report can be well-written and easy to understand, but if it doesn’t include recommendations for what should be done next, it won’t be very helpful. Be sure to include clear recommendations for what your team members should do with the information you’ve presented in your report.

For example, if you’re writing a marketing report, you may want to recommend a new marketing campaign or marketing strategy. Make sure your recommendations are realistic and can be achieved with the resources available.

Conclusion

Report writing is challenging, but it’s an important skill for future career growth. A well-written report demonstrates your ability to analyze information and communicate clearly, which can set you apart from other job applicants. It also shows that you’re willing to go above and beyond in order to help your company succeed. But how do you know what makes a good report? What should be included? And what shouldn’t?

If you’re feeling confused about the dos and don’ts of report writing, this guide will give you everything you need to know about creating effective reports that leave a positive impression on your reader.

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