Report writing: Problems08/02/2020
Many times you might be asked to write a report for senior management instead of an essay or a narrative/descriptive text. Now you might be overwhelmed, because writing a report seems to be more difficult. However, if you pay attention to the main rules of writing such a report, there should be no problems at all.
You just need to understand that a report must have a specific language, a specific length, and no ‘rambling’ should be included. As much as possible, keep to the point and don’t write like you would write an essay with log narration and figures of speech. You should do fine if you will check out the 7 most common mistakes you should avoid when writing such a report.
- Don’t start right with the introduction
You normally start any written project with an introduction. However, when you are writing a report, you need first to write an abstract. This is called the executive summary, and it basically sums up the contents of your report. A very good trick is to actually write your executive summary after you have written your entire report.
Only when you are done writing the entire report are you able to describe clearly and concisely what it contains. Take your time to read twice your report, and come up with an abstract that is maximum 150 words. The abstract uses clear informative language, and focuses strictly on the contents of the main report.
- Writing a report without a clear structure
Many make the mistake of writing the report without clear subheadings or chapters. Before you even start writing, you should delimitate your report and categorize it as follows: Abstract, Introduction, Background, Method, Findings, Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats, Conclusions and Recommendations. If you will follow such an outline for your report, you will certainly be able to write a very intelligent and useful report to senior management. Follow these guidelines and you will also write much easier.
Depending on the main topic/industry of your report, you can also use other structures. For example, you can use: Title Page, Acknowledgments, Contents page, Terms of Reference, Procedure, Materials & Methods, Summary, Main Body, Results, Conclusion & Recommendation. You can freely leave out a part if you don’t need it (such as not writing a ‘Glossary’ part if you don’t need one).
- Grammar & Stylistic mistakes in Recommendations
You need to be very careful when writing the Recommendations section. This is basically your proposal formulated towards management. This is where you will show your superiors that you know what changes are needed in order to make the company run better. Therefore, use often power words and show confidence throughout your writing. If you are not sure that you have written a good report, you can hire the writing service company and ask the experts there to proofread and edit your document professionally. This will help you hand in your document with a higher degree of confidence.
- Writing a report that is too short
A very short report will only prove that you didn’t spend enough time on research and analyzing the problem. Instead, make your report as long as it should take in order to detail everything nicely. You need enough space on paper to explain each and every point, so don’t rush. You also want a good feedback from management, so write as long as you need to explain the problem and to offer recommendations.
Nobody will impose restrictions regarding the length of your report. However, you need to think that you don’t want your superiors to get bored reading it. Try to supply a medium length report that is very concise in argumentation. Also think of it that many prefer to just ‘skim’ through the main parts, and they will not read every word you write.
- Not spending enough time on research
You don’t have to write a report from one day to the other. You are notified in time, so you should start your research immediately. Report writing is not easy, and you need to collect plenty of data, analyze it closely, find the mistakes, and come up with potential efficient solutions. Senior management will immediately understand if you spent only 3 hours in a rush to write your report, or if you invested a lot of effort. Writing a really good report can take even up to three weeks of in depth research. Don’t rush it.
- Writing in a literary way
A report is not an essay, and it is not literature or fiction. You should definitely use highly technical language and common phrases to your industry. If you write a report in the banking sector, you will need to research important financial terms and use them within your report.
Senior management will not be impressed if you write your report like it was a short story or some piece of literature with metaphors. Keep to the point, be concise and use all you best industry related terms. For some really helpful report writing guidelines.
- Excessive usage of colors and graphs
Remember, your report is not a painting, nor a piece for a drawing competition. Refrain yourself from using all the colors of the rainbow in your report. Instead, use smart graphics that have 1 or 2 colors (black/red, black/yellow highlights, black/orange) in order to make some differentiations. The graphics should not be too complicated, but easy and quick to understand by whomever looks at them. If you can’t explain your theory in one single graph, then it is better to create several graphics each pointing out one problem. The entire report should have that logical flow and industry specific language that makes it a professional report.
Writing a report is scary for the first time. Pay attention to avoid all these mistakes, and invest quality time in research before you sit down to write anything. In case you are struggling with writing your report, or a deadline is closing on, you should get help from outside sources. Editing and proofreading services can be of great assistance in such cases, and you can have peace of mind that your report is ready by the deadline.