Structuring & Writing Reports – Business Report Writing Training Course Outline
Business reports are your company's main tool to enable and support critical decision-making. If you are proposing a course of action – either within your company or to a client – the report you write will be its best advocate. Despite this being such an important function, many business writers only learn report writing by trial and error on the job.
It takes a lot of skill to communicate technical or commercial information efficiently and accurately. A business report writing course can give you a shortcut to using the most effective techniques.
This course has been designed specifically for people who are required to write business reports. It concentrates exclusively on the skills you need to make the writing process easier and the resulting document more effective.
What you will learn on this report writing course
By the end of the course, you will know how to:
Analyse your audience and tailor the content to their specific needs
Gather data efficiently and select the relevant information for your readers
Use best practice in structuring your document
Choose words that support your message and don’t distract your reader
Assess the best places to use graphics, and choose the right image to support your content
Edit your draft report for maximum impact
Is this course right for me?
Plain Words offers three standard report writing courses:
Structuring & Writing Reports is designed for delegates with little or no previous report writing experience, who have reached a stage in their careers that require them to start producing written business reports.
Business & Report Writing for Managers is aimed at delegates who are already writing reports but want to revisit the basics, generally raise their game and ensure they are using best practice techniques. It is also frequently chosen by clients who need to achieve greater consistency from their experienced staff.
Writing Technical Documents & Reports is a technical writing course designed to build on the skills of Scientists, Engineers, Technicians, Designers and Project Managers who write technical documents or reports. It concentrates on the principles and processes involved in communicating technical information effectively, whether to the layman or the expert.
All three courses address some similar concepts, but the content is pitched differently for each of the intended audiences to take into account their different levels of experience and the documents they write.
What our customers say
“A very interesting and thorough course. It has been interactive and fun. I have learnt new skills and am looking forward to putting them into practice. Thank you.”
EC, CAPS Solutions
“Fantastic course, well supported by in class exercises. Well worth attending!”
“Very useful course – hopefully it will teach me not to be so wordy. Course very well given considering the fairly dry subject.”
BW, Oil Spill Response Ltd.
“I was very impressed with the overall session. I have learnt new skills and I am confident what I have learnt today can be transferred into good report writing.”
JT, London South Bank University
How we deliver the Structuring & Writing Reports course
It is available as a one or two-day private tutor-led course at your premises, a one-day open course in London or a nine-module online self-study package.
A one-day intensive course. It concentrates on showing you, step-by-step, the process of structuring and writing reports. Exercises are used to illustrate various points throughout the day.
A two-day workshop. Delegates practise report writing skills, learning the techniques through group discussion, exercises and working on real examples of reports you bring to the workshop.
We adopt a flexible approach so that even our standard courses are tailored to your needs. Our trainers are all professional writers as well as experienced trainers. They use their judgment on the day to adjust the content and pace of the course so that delegates get the training that is right for them. This is done by:
Discussing your requirements with you before the course
Assessing the pre-course questionnaires
Discussing with the delegates at the start of the course their objectives and outcomes
Checking throughout the day that objectives are being met.
We specialise in small class sizes so that you get personal time with the tutor.
We deliver our Structuring & Writing Reports course at venues in central London, all easily accessible by public transport. All the rooms have natural daylight, independent air conditioning and free Wi-Fi.
If your journey into London means an early start, don’t worry; on your arrival you can have a light and tasty breakfast of fresh bread, pastries, cereals and fruit. Throughout the day there's an endless supply of freshly brewed coffee and speciality teas as well as chilled water, fruit and homemade snacks. Most venues also provide a hot lunch and all can cater to special dietary requirements.
A self-study (online) package
This contains nine modules. Please note that we cover the same content as outlined on this page, but some of the modules have been rearranged to work better online. You can see the actual modules by clicking on the 'Sample' button near the top right of this page.
Report Writing Course Contents
1. Clarifying your purpose
Do you have what it takes? The skills needed to write reports
Why do you do it? What’s the purpose of a business or technical report?
Why you won’t get anywhere without a clear objective
All right, I’m sold – how do I set a clear objective?
When you book we send you a questionnaire which we ask you to return to us before you attend the course. This enables our Trainers to assess your needs in advance.
2. Analysing your audience
Do you know who you’re writing for?
What will they want out of your report? The first step to making sure you deliver!
How do you satisfy a mixed readership with multiple requirements?
3. Designing your structure
Structuring before you start writing – you wouldn’t build without good foundations
Using mind mapping or Word™ Outline View to sequence and structure your material
How to structure the beginning, middle and end of your report
Organising your content to achieve your purpose
How to give bad news
How to structure the Executive Summary
Ideas for structuring sections
Organising your content – are you trying to persuade, inform, explain or discuss?
4. Selecting your information
Collecting and evaluating information – how to make it easy for people to help you
Deciding what information is relevant – the payoff for having a clear objective
Deciding the level of detail to include is easier when you’ve analysed your audience
Want Something a Little Different?
Give us a call today and we will tailor a course to suit you!
5. Developing your style
Crafting short, simple sentences to increase readability
Choosing familiar words that make your meaning clear
Getting rid of the waffle that bores readers
Putting action in your verbs for direct, concise writing
Writing in terms your reader can relate to
Some pointers on British vs American text
6. Drafting and laying out your text
The importance of the right mindset – how to avoid getting sidetracked
The process – prepare, draft, relax, polish
How to break up text – headings, bulleted or numbered lists, tables, diagrams, questions and answers, etc.
7. When and how to use graphics
Why use graphics?
When to use graphics – pictures, screen shots, diagrams, flow charts, tables, graphs, etc.
The best places for your graphics, in order of preference
Things to check when including graphics
8. Editing and proofing your draft
A top-down approach to improving your text – see it the way your readers do
Ensuring that you achieve maximum impact – things to check when editing your draft
Removing commonly confused words, ‘poppycock’, poor punctuation and grammar
Getting the most out of the spelling and grammar checkers
Some common punctuation errors and how to avoid them
Hints on proofreading to help you avoid a red face
Report polishing checklist – that last once-over to save your sanity
9. Exploiting the tools
Getting the most out of Word™
On-line style guides for instant answers to annoying quibbles
Metadata can be your undoing – what it is and how to hide it