How to avoid the pitfalls of bad report writing
3rd Mar, 2017

How to avoid the pitfalls of bad report writing

There might be times during your education period or in your work life that you are asked to write a report with descriptive text. Some people find it extremely difficult and are overwhelmed by the concept of writing a report however if you pay attention to the rules of report writing there shouldn’t be any difficulties. When you report you must understand that you need to use specific language which doesn’t include jargon.

A good report is clear and concise so don’t get stuck in the pitfall of bad report writing by using long narratives and figures of speech.

 We have been taught in school that a project always starts with an introduction, this may be true for only projects and not a report. If you would like to avoid bad report writing you should create an abstract which needs to be left till the end after you can clearly describe what the report actually contains. To make the abstract clear make sure before you start that you take the time to read the report once to yourself and again to a friend to see that it is clear and the reader won’t have any problems understanding it. The abstract doesn’t need to be very long but usually a maximum of 150 words long.

The best reports are the ones that are easy to read, as managers that receive them sometimes don’t have enough time to go through the report to find the section they require so it is best to delimitate your report and categorise it. You can categorise it as Abstract, Background, Method, findings, SWOT, conclusions and recommendations.

Many work places offer report writing skills training to ensure their staff are reporting and picking up skills in the correct manor for the company they are working for. The categories can differ between different reports but to make it more visually friendly for your manager it is best to create categories.

The recommendations section is very important when writing a report as this is the section that your manager is going to focus more on as they have put their faith in you to give good recommendations. Make sure powerful words are used to instil confidence in the reader, replace the word “think” with “believe”. If you believe that you are not confident in writing a report you can take part in report writing training either online or at a facility that can help you. If you are confident in report writing it will show in your work therefore your managers will be confident in you. Always proof read your work or take a professionals help.

Research is on most cases the base for your report but with the challenges of the office environment and over lapping tasks it’s hard to spend a long time on your report. For anyone that has written a report can confirm that it is a very hard task, you need to collect data, analyse it, find mistakes and find solutions that you can present to your superiors. It is very easy to tell when a report has been completed in a rush or if there was a lot of effort instilled in it. If you are handed a report writing task, tell your manager a realistic timeframe in which it can be completed at a good level.

When writing a report you may be tempted to put in colourful graphs to portray your figures but be careful not to put in too many colourful graphs as your manager primarily is judging you on your findings and not on your ability to create graphs. If you are to include graphs keep them simple and to two colours only. The report needs to flow logically to make it a professional report.

London Training for Excellence is excellent if you would like to enrol on a report writing course, the short course will give you the ability to construct reports in clear and professional manner, and it will also give you a good understanding of what a manager is looking for in a report. If you want to write a good report? Why not attend one of our report writing courses.

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