Writing Short Reports What makes a good report? Reports are essentially a management tool. Even the most capable managers rely on other people to collect information for them. You may be surprised that a variety of documents qualify as reports. The word report covers everything from preprinted forms to brief, informal letters and memos to three-volume manuscripts. The goal of developing a report is to make information as clear and convenient as possible. Good reports have three things in common: 1.
The information is accurate. 2. The content shows writer’s good judgment. 3. The format, style and organization respond to reader’s needs. Key points to be kept in mind while preparing a short report: 1. Accuracy: The first thing a business report must learn to do is to tell the truth. To ensure accuracy: •Check the facts •Reduce distortion 2. Describe facts and Events in concrete terms: It’s better to say Sales have increased from Rs. 400,000 to Rs. 450,000 in two months Rather than Sales have sky rocketed.
If you are preparing report on student/teacher misbehavior, its better to present the facts in proper words than to say that such n such student is convicted of bad attitude. 3. Put the facts in perspective: If you tell your reader the value of stock has doubled in three weeks you are only giving a partial picture; they will have a much better understanding if you say the value of stock has doubled in three weeks rising from Rs. 2 to Rs. 4 per share on the rumor of a potential merger.
In a behavioral report, stating student is convicted of misconduct will give a partial picture, your reader will have a much better understanding if you will define something about those events in words. 4. Give plenty of evidence for your conclusions: Statements like we have to recognize the sales force or we are bound to loose market share may or may not be true. Readers have no way of knowing unless you provide sufficient data to support your claim. In a behavioral report, statements just blaming student may carry vague ideas about the fact.
Give evidence to support your objections. 5. Present only objective evidence and verifiable conclusions: Try to avoid drawing conclusions from less information. Also don’t assume that a preceding event is a cause of what follows. Example: If the sales decreased after a new advertising agency was contracted, it doesn’t mean that the agency is to blame. Other factors may have a role to play in this as well. Similarly concluding a behavioral report don’t just directly suggest severe punishment for the convicted student. 6. Keep your personal biases in check:
Even if you have a personal bias in the subject of the report, try to keep your feelings from influencing your choice of words. Such biases not only offend but also obscure the facts and provoke emotional responses. 7. Good judgment: •Getting the main idea at the beginning of the report. •Seeing the facts. •Receiving the whole story. •Reading language they can understand. •Learning something that will make their jobs easier. 8. Responsive format, style and organization: Before you write decide: Whether to use a letter, memo, or manuscript format Whether to group your ideas one way or another