Course Outcomes

This report writing course will:

  • Help participants determine a report’s scope and depth prior to putting pen to paper.
  • Provide participants with tools for identifying their report’s main points and supporting details.
  • Suggest several steps writers can take to improve a report’s readability.
  • Highlight common mistakes report writers make.
  • Explain how to use white space, headings, bullets, and illustrations.
  • Provide concrete guidance for creating effective executive summaries.
  • Offer proofreading tips.

Course Overview

Learn to write reports that get read during this interactive report writing workshop.  During this session, participants will learn how to identify their documents’ readers, how to adjust the scope and depth of their writing to accommodate the interests of different groups, a process writers can follow to isolate their primary message and its supporting details, and simple actions report authors can take to improve the quality of their prose. While this course is not a basic writing program, the workshop does address common errors writers make and solutions to those problems. Furthermore, participants will learn how to use illustrations and photos to improve the attractiveness of their documents. Following that discussion, the instructor will share guidelines for creating good executive summaries. The program concludes with proofreading tips for finding mistakes before a report heads to the printing press.

Program Objectives

At this program’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Identify a report’s readers.
  • Define the scope of a report.
  • Craft a thesis statement.
  • Group information logically.
  • Write an enticing introduction.
  • Use headings, bullets, and other tools to make reading easier.
  • Incorporate charts, photos, and other graphics to illustrate report findings.
  • Create a compelling conclusion.
  • Apply rules of standard English to their writing.

The following outline highlights some of the course’s key learning points. As part of your training program, we will modify content as needed to meet your business objectives. Upon request, we will provide you with a copy of the participant materials prior to the session(s).

Workshop Outline

Examining the Evidence: What’s Been Happening?

This program kicks off with an evaluation of the current reports participants write.  During this workshop segment, group members will identify elements that detract from or enhance the credibility of their writing.  Next, they will highlight the specific challenges they wish to have addressed during the session.

Starting from Scratch: Write for the Reader

In this part of the program, we will discuss the importance of audience analysis and its role in determining the scope and depth of a report.  Working with a sample report, the group will identify audience segments.  Next, the participants will examine each segment’s interest in the topic, existing knowledge of the material, understanding of industry jargon, and additional elements that differentiate this group from other readers.  Once they have a firm grasp of their audiences’ needs, we will look at how those requirements should influence a report’s design.

Creating a Thesis Statement: What’s Your Point?

A report is easier to write when a strong main idea exists.  During this seminar segment, we will practice using a tool that will help participants identify a topic statement and its supporting ideas.  By the conclusion of this part of the course, participants should have an outline from which they can work during the session’s remainder.  

Making It Easy: Three Steps to Better Readability

Writing in the active voice, choosing accessible vocabulary, and using short sentences and paragraphs, are three actions writers can take to improve the quality of the texts.  Working with examples provided by the instructor, participants will apply these rules.  Next, they will review reports they have authored to determine whether those documents would benefit from the same treatment.

Preventing Laziness: Tighten Your Text

“There’s problems with the machine.” “Each employee should bring their ID to the meeting.” “The number of people failing the test are growing.” Wrong, wrong, and wrong.  All of those sentences contain the type of errors that can ruin a piece of writing.  During this part of the program, we will review the common mistakes writers make and discuss tips for avoiding such blunders.  Following this discussion, participants will examine their writing and hunt for problems of which they may not have been previously aware.

Showing the Way: How Photos, Illustrations, and Formatting Can Help

If it doesn’t look good, it probably won’t get read.  Unfair? Maybe.  True? Yes.  Sleek, clean, and good looking reports attract eyeballs. During this part of the workshop, we will review tips for improving a document’s readability with the use of headings, bullets, white space, and illustrations.  What was that? You’re not artistically inclined? Thanks to many low-cost or no-cost stock image sites and drawing tools, you don’t have to be.  Business Training Works maintains a list of such resources, and at the end of this segment, the instructor will share our latest finds.

Economizing: What’s the Executive Summary

Once a writer completes a report, it’s time to write the executive summary.   These one or two-page documents get to the heart of a report’s main point, conclusion, and recommendations.  In this part of the training program, participants will learn best practices for creating executive summaries.  Following that discussion, they will draft a summary of their reports.

Checking Twice: Proofreading Tips

“How those typos made it into that report, I will never know.  I swear they weren’t there when I was working on it!”  At some point, most writers have the unpleasant experience of finding errors in their work despite having performed what seemed like a thorough review.  Unfortunately, for many report writers, the more time they spend with their text, the less likely they will see its flaws.  This inconvenient truth can make the proofreading process difficult.  In this final course segment, we will offer suggestions for reviewing documents and catching errors that might have otherwise initially gone unnoticed.

At the program’s conclusion, participants should understand the elements a report should contain and the steps they should follow to succinctly present their findings.