- Do you worry that your poor grammar may make your reports look unprofessional?
- Do you often wonder if there is a better way to structure your reports to give them more impact?
- Do you often sit staring at a blank computer screen wondering where to start?
- Do you often procrastinate, putting off writing reports because "it's just too hard"?
- Do you have difficulty finding the right words to make your reports clear and easy to understand?
- Do you feel that your reports are so complex that no one but you is even going to understand them, let alone act on them?
Chances are, if you're anything like my students you would have answered "yes" to many of the questions above.
And it's not your fault. You see, the trouble is, you never get taught how to write a report that is clear and concise, that gets the results that are intended. And without the proper training, the end result is often confusing at best, and sometimes downright embarrassing. And every one of my students has faced the same frustrations as you - because they were never taught a structured, logical process to make report writing easy.
I'm constantly amazed when I go into organizations to train managers and staff in report writing, at the number of reports I see that are:
- poorly laid out - they are confusing and sometimes down-right dangerous
- lengthy and complex - they are hard to read, hard to understand, and seldom get implemented
- just plain boring.
- full of grammatical errors - they look unprofessional and they are hard to follow
And people tell me things like :
- "Report writing takes me so long to do."
- "My reports are so technical. I'm worried that no one will understand them - that is if they even read them."
- "Is there an 'accepted' way to write this report? Will I look stupid if I don't follow the norm?"
- "I'm never sure if my reports are good enough - will the boss like it?"
- "I write procedures for people to follow. Often there are safety issues. How can I be sure that my procedures are clear and accurate, so people use them and no one gets hurt?"
- "I want my reports to be clearer, more logical, and easier to read and understand. But I wasn't taught how to do that at university."
- "I dread writing reports. I just don't know where to start."
- "How do I make my reports look more professional?"
- "English is my second language. I want to be more confident that my reports are well written and easy to understand."