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Sample Report to Help Improve Your Business Writing

 Sample Report to Help Improve Your Business Writing

By Mark Swartz

 

Business writing is a form of strategic communication. Always have specific goals in mind, and gear your message to a particular target audience.

Brief memos, in-depth reports or persuasive proposals are the business equivalents of an announcement. Each is trying to capture a reader’s attention quickly. The information conveyed must therefore be to the point and accurate.

Below you will find a sample progress report in the form of a memo. Note how it begins with an Overview, summarizes key points under distinct headings, and ends with Next Steps.

 

The Business Writing Process

There are four main steps in creating a document. First define your purpose. Do you merely want to keep the reader informed? Or would you like them to agree to a proposal you’re making? Keep your goals in mind throughout.

Step two is identifying your target audience. Knowing your reader(s) is important. Cater to their needs. Use language they understand and focus on points that are meaningful to them.

In step three you draft an initial version of the document. Don’t get hung up on spelling, grammar or perfection (yet). For now just get a reasonably organized piece of writing done.

The fourth and final step is editing and proofreading. Here’s your chance to fine-tune your writing. Eliminate errors. Delete extraneous unnecessary wording. Make sure what you’ve written will achieve your pre-defined goals.

Use the sample memo below as a reference in terms of how to write a report. See how it incorporates purpose, organization, clarity and brevity.

 


 

MEMO

Re: Green Team Launch Status Update

 

Overview

This report highlights the progress of our “Green Team” environmental committee launch. We began four weeks ago on January 7.

 

Since then we have set up the leadership team, secured 11 volunteers from five departments, prepared a first year budget projection of $7,250, and will be rolling out our first internal initiative on February 24.

 

We expect to secure at least six more volunteers and launch four more programs by year-end. A memo detailing our first initiative, “Let’s All Go Green,” will be issued on Feb 15.

 

Accomplishment 1: Established the Leadership Team In Week One

By January 14 we had put together our governance group. It is organized as follows:

Committee Chair:       Aisha Dubali (Senior Manager, Product Development).

Vice-Chair:                  Leonard Sugarman (Director, Operations)

Secretary:                   Ronu Patish (Associate, Marketing)

 

Ms. Dubali and Mr. Sugarman have previous experience leading committees. Both were appointed to the Green Team by their respective supervisors. Ms. Patish has been with our company for four months, and was appointed by her boss, Ms. Dubali.

 

Accomplishment 2: Secured 11 Volunteers By Week Three

The Committee Chair and Vice Chair notified all department heads that they were seeking volunteers for the new Green Team. 11 employees from five departments came forward.

We have three from Operations, two from each of Business Development, Marketing and Engineering, plus one each from Customer Service and Maintenance.

Volunteers on the committee are devoting between three to five hours per week of their time. We asked everyone to inform us of their preferred role. As a result we now have people involved in Strategy and Planning, Program Implementation, Communication and Feedback.

 

Accomplishment 3: Developed First Year Budget Projection of $7,250

Our budget was prepared by the leadership team. It provides for five initiatives to be prepared and executed during year one. The topline breakdown is as follows:

 

Item

Name

Date

Cost

Initiative 1

Let’s All Go Green

Feb 24

$925

Initiative 2

Workspace Greening

May 8

$1,150

Initiative 3

TBD

Q3

$1,150

Initiative 4

TBD

Q3

$1,150

Initiative 5

TBD

Q4

$1,150

Miscellaneous

Printing, Copying etc.

Full Year

$1,725

Total Year One:

 

 

$7,250

 

Next Steps

At present we are completing the content portion of our “Let’s All Go Green” initiative. By February 12 all material will be ready for approval by the Executive Circle, before production and distribution to division heads on Feb 21.


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