One of the ways you can make your reports stand out more -- in a good way -- is to make it easier to consume. Here are two easy-to-execute ways to do that.
The cool thing about these two tactics is they're intuitive and easily implementable. You read a ton of reports yourself and know that the easier it is to navigate, the better you feel about the author and the more you get from the content.
Report-Writing Tip #1: Give them the takeaways at the top.
Be honest. We know a lot of people don't read the reports they ask (require?) us to write. But don't deprive them of your insights and recommendations. Start your report with a short summary -- a paragraph or maybe a few -- that hits the high points and includes calls to action. Or streamline it further with a bullet list (what we call internally, X Things You Need to Know Even if You Aren't Gonna Read This). And before you push back that this incentives not reading, in our experience, it's more likely to entice reluctant readers to dive in because you teased the relevant bits and they want to know more. Try it!
Report-Writing Tip #2: Support skim and scan.
This is an extremely effective tactic that instantly makes your reports more impactful. Strategic formatting helps readers find the stuff that's most relevant to them -- and find it fast. Things like descriptive subheads, bold type and bullet lists guide readers through the report quickly. Along the way, they may find other tidbits of interest. This tactic is particularly important when your report is being reviewed on tiny screens. The benefit of that accrues to you because you're making it easier for them, which makes you look at least considerate and at most efficient and strategic.
How to write a more impactful report
If you want to do a deeper dive, check out this report-writing post featuring an easy-to-use strategy for capturing the most useful information and delivering your recommendations and reflections effectively. Looking for even more support? Let's talk about coaching!
Check out other articles in the report-writing series