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(BCOM3360) Ch 13: Completing Business Reports

percision-oriented style
precision in thinking as reflected in style
— the most basic & critical component of any report?

* offers accurate, well documented FACTS
* good reasoning for CONCLUSIONS
* a solid basis for RECOMMENDATIONS

* must be a well-stated business prob or challange
— a report that facilitates effective decision making must demonstrate excellence in thinking

start w/a clear stmt of the business prob or challange
helps establish the purpose and value of the report
–w/o such stmt,reports lack direction & may be perceived as unimportant

prob stmts are most effective when they provide the unique context of the prob for organization & reflect an appropriate sense of urgency
— typically 1 – 3 paragrapsh long

use fact-based language
can raise credibility of your report by:
1. supplying facts w/percision
2. providing supporting detail for you conclusion
3. carefully dealing w/predictions & cause-effect stmts
4. responsibly citing research sources
document secondary research & avoid plagiarism
by nature, decision makers adopt a methodical & skeptical approach to making investments, & changing strategies & other substantial changes
— they exepct quality info to make these decisions

by documenting sources,
— you allow decision makers to judge the quality of your data
— you display your thorough, detailed-oriented approach

plagiarism
to steal & pass (idea of another) as one’s own & to commit literary theft

avoid by documenting all references to ideas of other including:
1. direct quotations
2. paraphrasing
3. other instances in which you borrow or refernce ideas of others

direct quotations
verbatim restatements from others sources

use only when:
— contains a particularly compelling combo of word,
— flows effectively w/paper,
–emphasizing credibility of the original speaker or writer

paraphrase
involves using your own words to express meaning of original speaker or writer
— significantly alter original words & sentences structure but will still need to give credit to original speaker/writer
base recommendations on facts & conclustions
one of the foremost goals of many reports is to give good advice
— business professionals often fail to sufficiently connect recommendations to their facts & conclusions
— if decision makers are to take your report seriously & feel comfortable acting on it, they must be able to see clear connections
provide specific & action recommendations
many business professionals run out of stem by end of the report or are reluctant to take firm position
— provide vague & sometimes superficial recommendations

recommendations should be suffeciently detailed & realistic

**you can elaborate on your recommendations w/:
— a section on your rationale
— the implications of your recommenations,
— clear steps to take toward implementations

design report to help decision makers
assume decision makers may not read report from start to end
— design it so they can navigate info rapidly

* provide a structure that decision makes are familiar with

tell story w/ an executive summary
nearly all reports, esp. those containing mor than a few pgs
— at the beginning

purpose is to summarize most important content, including findings, conclusions, & recommendations, so that busy execs. & other decision makers can quickly understand & act on the report

a good exec summ demonstrates that you can clearly focus on your goas & state, in no-nonsense fashion, who ou are, what you want, & where you are going

generally 1 pg for every 10-20 pages in a report

provide story line w/descriptive headings & other content makers
nearly all reports contain headings to help readers quickly navigate
— decision makers often skim from sect. to sect. to find info

at a min., you will include 1st -level headings

reports 5+ pgs – likely to use 2nd-level headings & maybe 3rd level

headings should also demonstrate basic logic or report

you have flexibility in how you label headings
— where possible, opt for descriptive titles & headings that help reader quickly recognize the value & content of any given sect.

use preview stmts to frame mssge & accentuate takeaway mssgs
reports are often lenghty & dense
— preview stmts can help decision makers follow the directions of yor text
— frame mssg, allowing readers to create a mental map of your key takeaway mssg
insert charts & tables to draw attentin to key pts
purpose, 1st & foremost, is to fit into story line you have established

should simplify or clarify complicated numerical info that may bog down you rreader in text

apply bulleting & enumerated lists to make passages easier to process
can help rapidly process & group info

too much can create choppy, staccato-like affect

cover page
reports
–10+ pgs
formal reports
— always include
— esp. those submitted to external decision makers
i.e. loan officers, venture capitalists, stockholders

minimum include:
— a title
— names of those who wrote &/or submitting report
— date

formal reports:
— co.s often rely on internal or external graphic designers, PR professionals, & other doc. design specialists to create a visually applealing doc

* cover page generally most emphasized aspect of this doc. design

table of content
10+ pages

contains all 1st-level headings & sometimes all 2nd-level headings

well-designed table of contents immediately creates impression you are organized

appendixes
often included to provide reference materials

common info included:
— financial stmts
— marketing materials
— detailed data tables
— brochures
— references
— résumés
— biographies

tone
achieveing positive, CAN-DO tone in you communications is appropriate in nearly all business communications

however, should project objectivity more so than positivity
— the sense you are providing:
* info
* analysis
* service that is sound, reliable, & unbiased

ensure that your enthusiasm & strong positive emotion doesnt’ appear to cloud your judgment

key features to strive for in all reports
* value to decision makers

* percision

* documentation

* easy navigation

* objectivity

review for fairness & effectiveness
to ensure you have been fair to yourself & readers

want to make sure report is as effective as possible

review several numerous times, each time considering a different perspective

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