How to write a Business Report? No business end can be achieved by unplanned business messages. Regardless of the type of a business report, the ‘*Titer is required to plan it in advance by thinking about its purpose, possible contents, the reader, and the methodology to be employed.
Business Reports, whether formal or informal, long or short, also ask for an appropriate planning process to serve the purpose for which they are written. It is important for the writer to make adequate preparation before he undertakes the task of writing the report. Let’s discuss that how to write a business report;
HOW TO WRITE A BUSINESS REPORT
The planning process involves the following steps:
- Defining the Problem, its Purpose, and Scope
- Considering the Reader
- Determining Ideas to Include
- Collecting Needed Material
- Analyzing and Interpreting Data
- Organizing Data and Preparing Final Outline
Defining the Problem, its Purpose and Scope: The first step towards the planning process is to analyze the problem and know the purpose of the report. To do this the writer should ask himself questions like, “What is wanted?” “How much?” “Why?” “When?” “Who?”Answers to these questions will help the determining the problem, its purpose, and scope.
Considering the Reader: The second step involved in the planning process of writing reports is to consider the reader. It is extremely important for the writer to visualize his reader and his needs. He should think over, who wants the report? Who will read it? How much detail will he prefer? What is his point of view? Asking himself these questions, the writer will be in a much better position to plan the report according to the needs and expectations of the reader.
Determining Ideas to Include: It is always highly desirable that the should have a pre-thinking about what ideas he should include in his report in order to meet its purpose. In short, reports just writing down the points will suffice. But, in long reports, a detailed working plan should preferably be sorted out. At this stage, the writer may formulate hypotheses as a basis for determining what kind of information he will need to write the report.
Collecting Needed Material: It is very important that the report presents bare facts, collected through reliable sources. Similarly, the writer may need some special information, like technical data or figures, which he may not be able to get easily, and for which he may be required to do some extensive research, etc. In all cases, collecting real, reliable and relevant material helps the writer add to the aspect of the authenticity of his document.
Analyzing and Interpreting Data: The fifth step involved in the planning process requires analysis, arrangement, and interpretations of the data collected. The writer should do this analysis and interpretation work objectively, without letting him steered by his personal bias. Some facts of the data may be contrary to his preference but, they should not be excluded from the report because of this.
Organizing Data and Preparing Final Outline: After careful analysis and interpretation, the writer should organize his findings and make the final outline. But before preparing the final outline, he needs to know what constitutes a report body and to consider various methods of organizing and outlining.
ORGANIZATION AND OUTLINE OF REPORT BODY
Organization and Outline of Report Body include the following aspects:
- Plans for Organizing Report Body
- Ways to Organize Report Text Section
- Methods of Outlining
PLANS TO ORGANIZE REPORT BODY:
To make the report really useful for the reader, the writer should choose a suitable organizational plan for the report body He should know which method of presentation will be more effective for the reader The two usual ways to organize a report body are:
1. Deductive or Direct Plan
2. Inductive or Indirect Plan
Deductive or Direct Plan: In Deductive or Direct Plan the writer puts the main ideas or main recommendations in the beginning part of the report and then follows them with detailed explanation. For reports following the deductive pattern, the three sections may be arranged in either of the two ways:
1. (i) Conclusion and Recommendations
2. (i) Introduction
(ii) Conclusion and Recommendations
3. (i) Introduction
(iii) Conclusion and Recommendations
In long reports, the deductive arrangement is preferred because it gives the reader an immediate summary before he goes into the supporting details. This pattern suits the readers who wish to have an immediate idea about the conclusions. Even in short reports, many business executives are more interested in the summed-up conclusions than their explanation. However, before the writer opts to follow the deductive plan, he must visualize his readers to be sure that they prefer this sort of arrangement.
Inductive or Indirect Plan: Contrary to the deductive plan, in the inductive organizational plan the writer puts the text first and then presents the conclusion and recommendations. It is close to the Persuasive-Request Messages in which the reader is prepared for the reception of certain information.
WAYS TO ORGANIZE REPORT TEXT SECTION
It is of paramount importance that the writer of a report before he prepares the final outline and before he begins writing decides on the best way to organize the mass of details included in the text section. The text details can be organized in one or more of the following ways, depending on the needs and requirements of the readers:
(a) By Topics:
To arrange text details topic-wise means that the writer should divide the text of the report into different topics and then provide them suitable, standard heads. This arrangement is the most common since it makes reading of the report easy.
(b) By Order of Occurrence:
In this sort of arrangement, the writer presents details of the text in a chronological order. He presents the different parts of the text not according to any standard divisions but according to the time periods. This kind of arrangement is not logical but chronological.
(e) By Order of Location:
Organization of the text materials in order of location means that the gives details of the report place-wise or location-wise. a report is to be made to describe business activities spread over a number of locations, this order may be preferred.
(d) By Procedure or Process:
This organization is useful when details of the report pertain to procedural operations of a business establishment. Here the describes the events of the report step-by-step to save him from possible digressions that may otherwise occur.
(e) By Order of Importance:
According to this organization, the writer puts the details of the text in order of their respective importance. He first puts the ideas, events, or topics which are of greater importance and then follows them with ideas of lesser importance. If all items are of equal importance, the writer may then arrange them alphabetically without making any discrimination.
(f) By Order of Familiarity:
This organizational scheme aims at proceeding from simple or familiar to the complex or unfamiliar. Sometimes this sort of arrangement Of the textual details of a report is more effective.
(g) By Sources:
In this method the of the Report arranges details of the text in order of the Sources of his information, This method is good only when the reader is more interested in the revealing sources than in the ideas.
(h) By Problem Solution:
In this sort of organization, the first discusses the problem and follows it by a solution. In this method conclusions and suggestions are made a of the text as they are not given at the conclusion but are made anger each problem as and when it is discussed.
METHOD OF OUTLINING
After the has decided on the organizational plan of the text, the final task is to outline the format of the report. Outlining the format includes:
• Division of the report body into chapters
• Providing headings to the chapters
• Providing sub-headings to the main headings of the chapters
For this purpose, first, the writer should make a logical and appropriate division of the report body into chapters, and then should give them proper headings and subheadings. Drawing this sort of outline will help the writer in writing the report without wasting his time. Care should, however, be taken that the headings and subheadings provided are in a logical sequence and avoid overlapping.
Choice of the words of headings is also an important aspect. As far as possible, the headings should be concise, brief and to-the-point. Just a glance on them must enable the reader to know what the following discussions comprise of. It is preferable to give single-worded. headings to the different chapters of the report. However, short phrases can also be useful, if desirable. Main headings of the chapters do ask for their further division into sub-headings. Outline of the text remains incomplete in their absence, and may cause difficulties to the writer at the stage. To do this, the should think over the degrees of importance of the items constituting each chapter. He should place the most important ideas in the top-heading of the chapter, and follow it by the succeeding ideas in the sub-headings.