How to write an in-depth business report

businessEvery once in a while, professionals have to complete a task that they have no idea how to tackle. Indeed, certain assignments seem so daunting –– so overwhelming –– that even the most seasoned pros find themselves nonplussed. Specifically, in-depth writing assignments and long business reports are a particular pain point for many individuals who do not write regularly for a living. Let’s be clear here –– there’s a stark difference between writing emails or inter-office memos and writing a fifteen-page report. On the plus side, you can complete such a task with a little hard work and a positive mindset. Check out these five tips to help you get started:

Start With a Question

Think back to grade school for a moment: how many times did you ask yourself (or your teacher) why you had to learn a subject or complete homework? Maybe you couldn’t come up with a good answer then, but chances are you can figure out why you’ve been asked to write this longform business report. Before you start trying to make sense of the minutiae, consider the big picture for a moment. This will help you stay on track if you get lost exploring a few tangents.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

The blank page is the most intimidating sight for an inexperienced writer. Given that fact, make it a point early on to get your fingers moving and fill that page with something –– anything –– even if it doesn’t relate to your assignment at all. What’s more, when you actually begin to write, don’t worry about spelling, grammatical, or stylistic issues. Just write. You’ll have plenty of time to go back and fix your mistakes later. For the moment, concentrate on keeping forward momentum.

Define Your Terms

Even if your subject is complex or confusing, your writing shouldn’t be. Take the time out to define unfamiliar terms for both your benefit and your readers. There’s no shame in explaining how intricate lab equipment like an acid citrate dextrose blood tube works, for instance. Plus, your audience will appreciate the information.

Repeat Yourself

Strange though it may seem, it’s usually a wise idea to repeat core concepts and state your conclusions more than once. No, don’t copy/paste your thesis statement throughout your work, but feel free to hammer home an important point. If you want your reader to remember something, make sure to say it again and again and again.

Edit with a Partner

There’s no substitute for a fresh pair of eyes. Don’t be afraid to ask a friend or coworker for feedback once you’ve finished with your first draft. They’ll be able to catch mistakes you didn’t and provide insight you might’ve missed. Lastly, there are also a number of writing apps and programs that will highlight poor stylistic choices and help you improve your report. Remember, editing is a key part of the writing process –– so don’t feel bad if you have to make significant changes. That’s actually a great sign and you’ll be better off for it in the long run.

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