Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 36

Business Communication

MGT 5200
Writing Reports and Proposals

Reports and Proposals

Informational Reports offer data, facts, feedback and other types of information without analysis or recommendations Analytical Reports offer both information and analysis and may also include recommendations Proposals offer structured persuasion for internal or external audiences

Informational Reports Reports to monitor & control operations


Provide feedback and other information for decision making

Reports and Proposals


Analytical Reports Reports to Assess Opportunities Explain the
risks and rewards of a course of action such as market analysis report

Proposals Internal Proposals


Request decisions from managers within the organization (funding proposals; project proposals etc)

Reports to Implement policies & Procedures


communicate organizational rules and positions

Reports to Solve Problems Analyze


problems and (usually) suggest solutions

External Proposals
Request decisions from parties outside the organization (grant proposals; sales proposals etc)

Reports to Demonstrate Compliance provide


information to show regulators & other authorities that company meets formal requirements

Reports to Support Decisions Judge the


merits of past or future decisions (such as feasibility reports)

Reports to Document Progress Provide


managers or customers with information on project status

3 Step Process for Reports and Proposals Step 1: Planning

Analyze the Situation


Clarify the opportunity or problem at hand, define your purpose, develop an audience profile and develop a plan

Gather Information
Determine audience needs and obtain the information necessary to satisfy those needs; conduct a research activity if necessary

Select the Right Medium


Choose the best medium for delivering your message

Organize the Information


Define your main idea; limit your scope; select direct or indirect approach; outline your content using the appropriate structure

3 Step Process for Reports and Proposals Step 2: Writing

Adapt to Your Audience


Be sensitive to audience needs by using a you attitude, politeness, positive emphasis and bias-free language. Build a strong relationship with your audience by establishing credibility and projecting your companys image. Control your style with a tone and voice appropriate to the situation.

Compose the Message


Choose strong words that will help you create effective sentences and coherent paragraphs throughout the introduction, body and conclusion of your report / proposal

3 Step Process for Reports and Proposals Step 3: Completing

Revise the Message


Evaluate content and review readability, then edit and rewrite for final polished version

Produce the Message


Use effective design elements and suitable layout for a professional appearance. Integrate text with graphics / diagrams

Proofread the Message


Review for any errors such as spelling and punctuation

Distribute the Message


Deliver your report using the chosen medium and check that your report has been received by the audience in its entirety

Step 1: Planning Analyze the Situation


Statement of Purpose

Many reports are long and complex so it is critical to define your purpose clearly. This tells your audience why you are writing

The best way to begin is with a purpose statement for an informational report is to describe your goal. For example:
- To provide clarification on how new tax laws will apply - To update the directors on the policy review project - To explain the latest customer feedback data

Step 1: Planning Analyze the Situation


Statement of Purpose cont.

Your statement of purpose for an analytical report needs to be more comprehensive. This is because analytical reports draw conclusions and make recommendations. Example: - To analyze the travel and entertainment budget, evaluate the impact of recent changes in airfares and hotel costs, and suggest ways to tighten managements control over travel and entertainment expenses.

Step 1: Planning Analyze the Situation


Statement of Purpose cont.

Your statement of purpose for a proposal must be focused on persuading your audience. Examples:

- To secure funding in next years budget for three new photocopiers.


- To get management approval to hire a change consultant - To compete for the government tender to provide training for 500 new trainee public officials

Step 1: Planning Analyze the Situation


Construct an Audience Profile

We have looked at this in detail already this semester; you should refresh your memory from earlier slides and activities

Write out a work plan

A work plan (rough outline for your report / proposal) can save time and produce a better end result. See page 369 in our text book for an example

Step 1: Planning Gathering Information


Determine and meet Audience Needs

We need to identify what the needs of the audience are. What do they need to know? And then we need to gather the right information to put into our report so we can satisfy those needsto be informed? To be advised? To be given a choice of solutions for a problem? This may be simple and obvious in many cases. In some cases we may need to conduct some research to identify needs and collect data to satisfy those needs

Step 1: Planning Select the Right Medium


Choosing the best medium

The medium you select must be appropriate for your audience in terms of how they expect to receive a report, how sensitive the information is, what impression you hope to make and what they plan to do with the report. It could be: a PowerPoint presentation; a printed and bound booklet; emailed word document; a page posted on the companys intranet etc

Step 1: Planning Organizing the Information


Direct or Indirect Approach?

Use a direct approach if your audience is receptive Use an indirect approach if your audience is skeptical Use a direct approach if your audience is familiar to you Use an indirect approach for an audience less well known or to build interest / credibility

EXAMPLES
Handout 1: Ineffective and Effective Report

See the handout (memo dated March 14 2008) On one side (p 392) is an ineffective informational report On the other side (p 393) is an effective informational report

What makes the reports effective and ineffective?

All of the handouts are saved in the class activities folder on the L Drive

EXAMPLES
Handout 2: Effective Analytical Report

See the handout (memo dated September 12 2008) It is an example of a good analytical report It is pages 398 399 in our text book

All of the handouts are saved in the class activities folder on the L Drive

EXAMPLES
Handout 3: Effective Internal Proposal

See the handout (memo dated July 8 2008) It is an example of a good internal proposal It is pages 402 403 in our text book What differences do you see between the effective report (p398-399) and the effective proposal (p402-403)?

All of the handouts are saved in the class activities folder on the L Drive

Step 2: Writing Adapt to your Audience


Sensitivity Toward Audience Needs

Long and complex reports demand a lot of readers, making the you attitude more important Follow any company guidelines / templates for reports (especially to external audiences) Write for the audience: consider carefully tone, vocabulary (complexity of words; register); acronyms; jargon; prior knowledge of the topic of the report etc Build credibility for yourself and your message

Step 2: Writing Compose the Message


Structure

Your introduction needs to put the report in context for the reader. Introduce the subject, preview the main ideas and set the right tone for the document The body of your report provides the discussion and analysis and interprets the information you discovered The conclusion might be the only thing some people read. Make sure it is strong, clear and unambiguous

Step 2: Writing Compose the Message


Structure for Reports: Introduction

Authorization: when, how and by whom the report was authorized; who wrote it and when it was submitted Problem/opportunity/purpose: The reason the report was written and what is to be accomplished as a result Scope: What is and what is not covered in the report. This helps manage the readers expectations Background: Any relevant historical conditions or factors that help put the topic in context Sources and methods: The primary and secondary sources of information used. This section can also explain how the information was collected

Step 2: Writing Compose the Message


Structure for Reports: Introduction cont.

Definitions: Definitions of important terms used in the report. Define any terms that might be unfamiliar to the audience or used in an unfamiliar way Limitations: Factors beyond your control that limit the quality, reliability, usage of the reports message such as budget constraints or quality of data. But never make personal excuses Report Organization: How the rest of the report will be organized. Its a bit like a table of contents

Step 2: Writing Compose the Message


Structure for Reports: Body
Topics commonly covered in the body of a report include:

Explanations of a problem or opportunity Facts, statistical evidence, trends Results of studies or investigations Discussion and analysis of potential courses of action Procedures or steps in a process Methods and approaches Criteria for evaluating alternatives and options Conclusions and recommendations Supporting reasons for conclusions and recommendations

Step 2: Writing Compose the Message


Structure for Reports: Close

Direct approach then conclude with a list of key points Indirect approach reiterate and stress your conclusions and/or recommendations If the report requires action, use the ending to explicitly state what should happen next and who is responsible for each task. If it is you, make sure your readers know this

EXAMPLES
Handout 4: Problem Solving Report

See the handout (memo dated July 7 2008) It is an example of a good problem solving report that focuses on recommendations It is pages 415 416 in our text book
All of the handouts are saved in the class activities folder on the L Drive

Step 2: Writing Compose the Message


Structure for Proposals: Introduction

The introduction for a proposal presents and summarizes the problem or opportunity you will address along with your proposed solution. If your proposal is solicited, be sure to follow the guidelines they provide for writing your proposal If your proposal is unsolicited, you should explain why you are writing. For example; following up on a conversation

Step 2: Writing Compose the Message


Structure for Proposals: Introduction cont.

Background or statement of the problem / opportunity: briefly reviews the readers situation and establishes reason for action. If unsolicited, you will need to convince them Solution: Briefly describes the change you propose and highlights your key selling points and their benefits, showing how your proposal will help readers achieve their business objectives Scope: States what is and is not covered in the proposal Organization: Like a table of contents for what is to follow

Step 2: Writing Compose the Message


Structure for Proposals: Body

The proposals body gives complete details on the proposed solution and specifies what the anticipated results will be. Remember a proposal is a persuasive document so all of this needs to be written in a way to influence the reader to see things as you do.

Step 2: Writing Compose the Message


Structure for Proposals: Body cont.
The body of a proposal is most likely to be:

Proposed solution Describes what you have to offer (service; product; opportunity) why it will make a difference and its unique benefits Work Plan Describes what you plan to do in detail: timings; resources; methods; venues etc Statement of Qualifications You/your organizations experience, knowledge, expertise and other credentials Costs Detailed breakdown of all costs

Step 2: Writing Compose the Message


Structure for Proposals: Conclusion

Summarize key points; emphasize the benefits; summarize why your proposal is the best option; emphasize the proposal as an opportunity to be taken now and ask the reader for a decision. Be brief a paragraph or two, be assertive and confident but not arrogant or demanding

EXAMPLES
Handout 5: Effective Solicited Proposal

See the handout (letter dated October 29 2008) It is an example of an effective solicited proposal in letter format It is pages 422 423 in our text book
All of the handouts are saved in the class activities folder on the L Drive

Step 3: Completing Revise the Message


Evaluate and Review

Your document should be carefully reviewed and revised for clarity, conciseness, structure, flow. Have a colleague review your document for suggestions Edit and re-write your document

Step 3: Completing Revise the Message


Produce the Message

Your document should include three main parts: Prefatory Parts: Things that come before the introduction Text Parts: The introduction; body and conclusion Supplementary Parts: Things that come after the conclusion

Step 3: Completing Revise the Message


Produce the Message cont.
Prefatory Parts
Covering letter

Text Parts
Introduction

Supplementary Parts
Index

Title page
Acknowledgements Definition of key terms Table of contents List of illustrations / tables Synopsis

Body
Conclusion Recommendations (can be separate to conclusion)

Bibliography
Appendices

EXAMPLES
Handout 6: Effective Full Report

See the handout (Reducing Electrovisions Travel and Entertainment Costs) It is an example of an effective full report including prefatory, text and supplementary parts as well as graphics It is pages 462 475 in our text book
All of the handouts are saved in the class activities folder on the L Drive

EXAMPLES
Handout 7: Effective Full Proposal

See the handout (ODonnell dated July 28 2008) It is an example of an effective full proposal including costing It is pages 483 486 in our text book

All of the handouts are saved in the class activities folder on the L Drive

Step 3: Completing Revise the Message


Proofread the Message

Review the message for errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar, spacing, font size and styles and other technical aspects of writing

Step 3: Completing Revise the Message


Distribute the Message

Deliver the report to your audience in the chosen method based on what is expected and what will get the best results for you. Make sure the covering letter goes with the report.

Check that the report has been successfully received by your audience