As we’ve said elsewhere in this publication, the key to great reports is: Use your data to tell a story.
But teasing that story out of a pile of data is not straightforward. Whether you sum up your accomplishments for the year or summarize a bad day in the media, your report writing will be faster and better if you work in a strict sequence with intermediate goals.
Once you gain a little experience, you’ll be able to write a clear, effective report in four hours or less. Here’s how to plan your time and the steps you must take.
Hour 1: Get your mind around the problem
Who’s the audience? What kind of presentation will they prefer?
Let’s assume the report request came from higher up in your organization. Put yourself in the head of the boss of the person who requested the report. Ask yourself what type of person he or she is:
And if you don’t know what kind of person they are, make sure you use all three forms of presentation in your report.