In today’s modern digital world, many of us are familiar with preparing reports which end up in front of management meetings or board committees. I’ve certainly worked on my share of presentations and reports that flow onto a higher-level audience. One of my pain-points was the amount of reviews needed to tidy up the content.
In order to save time and money, and produce accurate and professional output, I employ the following writing and proofreading techniques.
Know your audience. As yourself who will be the final reader of this report?
Often when preparing high level documents/board reports, the readers of the end product may be internal/external managers who may not have your technical expertise, local knowledge, or familiarity with industry jargon. Write in a way that allows the reader to understand your message.
Look for squiggly underlines, identifying grammar and spelling issues, then right click on squiggly words for suggested corrections.
Use the built-in spell check – Go to Review tab > Spelling & Grammar.
Acronyms should be written out in full at the first appearance, with the acronym in brackets, then the acronym can be used thereafter.
Avoid industry specific jargon. Write in understandable terminology, or clearly define the term to avoid confusion.
Avoid saying “Bill incurred 4 safety incidents this month.” Assess the relevance to the reader. Describe according to the impact to the business. Example: Due to 4 safety incidents, the safety metrics were impacted this month.
Avoid shortening words such as Jan, Feb, Mon, Tue, Govt, mgmt. Instead, write out the full word. Example: Both parties met on 6th February.
Keep the writing impersonal by avoiding use of the first person, such as “I” and “We”. Examples: “I surveyed the customers” becomes “The customers were surveyed”.
Check for correct punctuation. Place full stops and commas in the right spot. Avoid use of exclamation marks. Use bullets or numbering for long lists to make the sentence readable.
Now that you’ve read my guide for proofreading your reports, I hope you can take away some insights into what to look for, the next time you’re preparing that important report, to help you project your highest level of professionalism.
No time to format your documents or reports? CONTACT CATH and let’s see what I can do.
Modern Day PA helps small business owners become more efficient and organised in their business administration, so they can find more time to make money.
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