How To Write A Brilliant Report
We are judged on how we communicate all of the time: verbal communication is for the here and now, can be ignored or accepted BUT written communication is dealt with very differently. Colleagues hold onto written material for reference for long periods of time and will refer to it for a long time.
So you need to make every word count and to have a document that both convey your message and which is valued by those receiving it.
Five factors should be used in shaping your document:
- Identity: think carefully about who you want to be in the document. Are you acting as an Observer, Reporter, Explorer or Commenter. In knowing this clearly you can then decide how much detail should go into each section or component of the document.
- Purpose: be very clear exactly WHAT you are writing about! Similarly WHY you are writing, WHO has requested that this work is being written and the remit of your document.
- Audience: who exactly is the target audience? Is there more than one audience for the document? What is the level and capability of those reading the document, observers and interested parties. What will all of the different audience groups do with the content?
- Code: what is the format, style and structure of the document? Identify your evidence base and what does each audience type want from the document and its content, style and recommendations?
- Experience: carefully evaluate your prior experience of the topic/subject matter of the document? Do you fully understand what you have been asked to do? (If there is any doubt on this you MUST clarify any issues ahead of starting the document).
Get the factors identified before writing to make sure that you produce a quality product!
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