Presentation on theme: "Writing Business Reports and Proposals"— Presentation transcript:
1 Writing Business Reports and Proposals Chapter 11Writing Business Reportsand Proposals
2 Chapter 11 Objectives Discuss the structure of informational reports. Explain the structure of analytical reports.List the most popular types of visuals and discuss when to use them.Clarify five principles of graphic design to remember when preparing visuals.Identify and briefly describe five tools that writers can use in long reports to help readers stay on track.
3 First ThoughtsWhen organizing business reports and proposals, you need toDecide on the format and lengthChoose the direct or indirect approachSelect the appropriate informational or analytical structurePrepare the final outline
4 Deciding on Length and Format When selecting a format, you have four options:Preprinted formMemoLetterManuscript
5 Direct or Indirect Approach When your audience is likely to be receptive or open-minded, use a direct approach: Begin with a summary of your key findings, conclusions, and recommendations.The direct approachIs the most popular and most convenient order for business reportsSaves time and makes the rest of the report easier to followProduces a more forceful report
6 Direct or Indirect Approach If you’re a junior member of a status-conscious organization, or if your audience is skeptical or hostile, use the indirect approach: Introduce your complete findings and discuss all supporting details before presenting your conclusions and recommendations.The indirect approachGives you a chance to prove your points first and gradually overcome your audience’s reservationsImplies that you’ve weighed the evidence objectively without prejudging the factsImplies that you’re subordinating your judgment to that of the audience
7 Organizing Informational Reports To arrange your material, use a topical organization such asImportanceSpatial orientationSequenceGeographyChronologyCategory
8 Organizing Informational Reports Two other bases for organization govern specific informational reports:Since compliance reports and routine internal reports are often prepared on preprinted forms, organize them according to the instructions provided by the person who is requesting the information.When responding to a request for proposal, you must conform to the outline specified in the RFP issued by the client.
9 Organizing Analytical Reports When writing an analytical report, the anticipated audience reaction dictates the structural approach you use:Focus on conclusions (when your audience will be receptive)Focus on recommendations (when your audience will be receptive)Focus on logical argument (when your audience will be skeptical)
10 Organizing Analytical Reports In analytical reports, focus on recommendations when your readers want to know what they ought to do:Start by establishing the need for action (briefly describing the problem or opportunity being examined).Introduce the benefit that can be achieved (without providing any details).List the steps (recommendations) necessary to achieve the benefit.Explain each step more fully (giving details about procedures, costs, and benefits).Summarize the recommendations.
11 Structural Approaches for Logical Argument Scientific methodYardstick approach
12 The = 4 approachConvinces readers of your point of view by demonstrating that everything adds upIs natural and versatile (your arguments will fall naturally into this pattern)Is generally the most persuasive and efficient way to develop an analytical report for skeptical readers
13 The Scientific MethodConvinces readers by stating a problem, describing the hypothetical solution(s), and offering evidence that will either confirm or rule out the solution(s)Helps you bring about a consensus by showing the strengths and weaknesses of all ideasCan confuse readers by discussing all the alternatives, no matter how irrelevant or unproductive
14 The Yardstick Approach Convinces readers by establishing the criteria you use to evaluate possible solutionsClears up any audience confusion because all alternatives are reviewed against the same standardsIs ineffective if your audience disagrees on any of the criteriaCan be boring (repeating the same thing over and over again for each possible solution)
15 Final Outline A final outline gives you A diagram of your report The important points of your reportThe order in which you will discuss each pointThe details you will include about each point
16 Final OutlineYour final outline often differs from the preliminary outline that guided your research because you need to account forYour purposeYour audience’s probable reactionThe things you learned during your investigationAs you develop your final outline, remember thatYour final outline is a working draft that you’ll revise and modify as you go alongThe way you phrase outline headings will affect the tone of your report
17 Visual Aids Clarify and simplify the text Depict relationships between pointsEmphasize and summarize pointsAttract and build credibilityReinforce understanding
18 Visual Aids As valuable as visuals are, you should Use visual aids selectively and include on each one only those elements that support your primary messageUse visuals to supplement the written word, not replace itRestrict your use of visual aids to situations in which they do the most good
19 “Visualizing” Information Decide on the message.Identify points requiring visual support.Maintain a balance between illustrations and words.Consider your production schedule.
20 Types of Visual Aids Tables Systematically arrange data in columns and rowsAre ideal when the audience needs information that would be either difficult or tedious to handle in the main textShould be limited to three column heads and six row heads when projected onto a screen during an oral presentationCan sometimes be introduced into text as part of a paragraph
21 Types of Visual Aids When preparing a numerical table, be careful to Use common, understandable units and clearly identify themExpress all items in a column in the same unit (rounding for simplicity)Label column heads clearly (using a subhead if necessary)Separate columns or rows with lines or extra space to make the table easy to followProvide column-to-row totals or averages when relevantDocument the source of the data below the table
22 Types of Visual Aids Line charts Illustrate trends over time or plot the relationship of two variablesDepict trends by arranging the vertical (y) axis to show the amount and the horizontal (x) axis to show the time or the quantity being measuredMay have a broken axis if the data plotted are far above zeroCan be confusing if they show more than three lines at a time, especially if the lines crossCan depict both positive and negative values
23 Types of Visual AidsBar charts make a series of numbers easy to read and are particularly useful when you want toCompare the size of several items at one timeShow changes in one item over timeIndicate the composition of several items over timeShow the relative size of components of a whole
24 Types of Visual Aids Pie Charts Show how parts of a whole are distributedShow percentages effectivelyCompare one segment with anotherWhen composing pie charts, try toRestrict the number of slices in the piePlace the largest or most important slice at the twelve o’clock positionUse different colors or patterns to distinguish the various pieces
25 Types of Visual AidsFlowcharts illustrate a sequence of events from start to finish—such asProcessesProceduresSequential relationships
27 Types of Visual AidsOrganization charts illustrate the interactions between a firm’s positions, units, or functions.Maps show geographic relationships:The concentrations of something by areaRegional differencesLocationsDrawings, diagrams, and photographs are most often used to show how something looks.
28 Using Graphic Design Principles ContinuityEmphasisContrastSimplicityExperience
29 Fitting Graphics Into Text Introduce graphics in the text.Place them near the text they illustrate.When referring to visuals in textBe sure to introduce each visual before it appearsEmphasize the main point of the visual without simply repeating the data that is already shown in the visualPlace the visual near the point it illustrates
30 Composing Business Reports and Proposals You can use an informal tone whenYou know your readers reasonably wellYour report is likely to meet with their approvalYou’re writing a brief memo or letter reportUse a more formal tone whenYour report is longer and contains complex or controversial informationYour report will be sent outside your own work area or outside the organizationYou’re communicating with people from other cultures
31 Composing Business Reports and Proposals When using a more formal style, youEliminate all references to I, we, us, our, and youStress your objectivity, remaining businesslike and unemotionalAvoid overusing phrases such as there is and it isAvoid passive voiceEliminate your own opinions and perceptionsUse no jokes, similes, or metaphorsAvoid colorful adjectives and adverbs
32 Guiding Readers through Reports Start with an opening that indicates the report’s subject and importance.Use headings, subheadings, and lists effectively.Use transitions to bind the report.Use preview and review sections.Create an ending that leaves a strong, lasting impression.
33 Test Your Knowledge Let’s Discuss What are your options for structuring an informational report?What are your options for structuring an analytical report?How does topical organization differ from logical organization?When is it appropriate to use tables, line charts, surface charts, and pie charts in a report?What five principles apply to effective visuals for business reports?
34 Test Your Knowledge Let’s Discuss continuedHow does a flowchart differ from an organization chart?What tools can you use to help readers follow the structure and flow of information in a long report?What ethical issue is raised by the use of technology to alter photographs in reports?What is the purpose of adding titles and legends to visual aids in reports?How do writers use transitions in reports?