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Fast And Easy Report Writing - How To Write Clearly

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Admin


Admin
Driven by a love of words and an ego that demands the convoluted, you may have carefully chosen to forget that I told you that a report is primarily about getting the user to take the action that you want them to. Check out this sentence and imagine the response if it appearedin a report: In the fullness of time, prevailing meteorological conditions will undergo alterations so as to bring about precipitation of a watery nature. Huh! What is the matter with this idiot? Can't he just say: it will rain soon? So let me show you how to write clearly and make yourreport easy to read and fast to take action on. Get to the main points quickly and simply. Please, please, please, whatever you are writing, avoid lengthy preambles (or preRambles!) Don't spend paragraphs and paragraphs setting the scene or explaining the background. Use language efficiently. Use short sentences and short paragraphs. Get rid of meaningless phrases. Remember your aim is to get your report read. Be formal in your language but not archaic. Most reports, especially those that will be used outsideof the organisation will be somewhat formal. However, don't fool the reader into believing thatyou're living in another century by using terms like 'the undersigned', 'aforementioned', 'ourselves', 'your goodselves', etc. Avoid jargon, acronyms and technical terms - unless they are essential, and unless you're writing for an audience that understand these, explain them. I was once part of a team to evaluate a communityproject proposed by a group of doctors. The amount of large words and medical terminology led me to believe that the people would die from their problems before we could understand and approve the project. The body of the report should be divided into logical sections. Can you imagine a report organised like this: Findings - Recommendations - Cause - Problems - Conclusions - Solutions? By the time you finished sorting it out, you will be exhausted and not evensure what action you should take. Do not cram lots of detail, diagrams, figures, evidence, references etc., into the main body of the report. Index and attach these references as appendices at the end of the report. And where you state figures or evidence you must always identify the source. Show figures in columns. Also, try to support important figures with a graph. Don't over use capital letters - even for headings. WORDS FORMED OF CAPITAL LETTERS ARE DIFFICULT TO READ BECAUSE THERE ARE NO WORD-SHAPES, JUST BLOCKS OF TEXT. We read quickly by seeing word shapes, not the individual letters. (Did you see and feel the difference whenyou read the above text?) I guarantee that if you use these tips you will improve the instances in which you reports get read and acted on. So the next time you have to report on the fact that"Ornithological Specimen of Identical Plumage Invariably Conglomerate To The Nearest Proximity, just simply state that "Birds of a Feather Flock Together"!

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