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Report Writing Made Simple

Writing a report step by step from planning to proofing - for a polished, professional and persuasive business report.
4.4 (31 ratings)
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325 students enrolled
Created by Dr Clare Lynch
Last updated 11/2015
$10 $45 78% off
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  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 13 Articles
  • 1 Supplemental Resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What Will I Learn?
Save time when planning a report by knowing the essential questions to ask
Increase the impact of a report by understanding its purpose
Structure complex information and ideas confidently and quickly (under five minutes)
Decide what sections to include in the report - and what should go where
Delight readers by making the report easy to navigate and digest
Create a visually attractive report that's kind to the eye
Avoid the common pitfalls that damage your credibility as a report writer
Know exactly what to include in your executive summary (and what not to include)
View Curriculum
  • Access to word processing software
  • Pen and paper
  • It's helpful to have a specific report writing project in mind - but isn't essential

Lacking confidence about your business report writing skills because you've never had any formal training in writing reports?

Panicking because you're supposed to be writing a business report and you've no idea where to start?

Sick of wasting hours worrying about how to knock all that research into a logical shape?

Or maybe you write business reports regularly but you're just not getting the results or feedback you'd like from your reports?

If any of these sound like you, stop worrying now! Because this course will take you through the process of business report writing - step by step and with downloadable cheat sheets.

What's more, your guide is a Cambridge graduate and teacher with years of experience helping people write business reports that have impact.

Report writing: take the pain out of planning and the sweat out of structuring!

For most people, the hardest part of report writing is getting started. In this course, you're going to learn how to shave hours, days or even weeks off the report writing process through intelligent planning. You'll learn what questions to ask so you're not reinventing the wheel when you sit down to write your report. 

But best of all, you'll discover a miraculous technique that will completely revolutionise how you go about structuring your reports. I developed this technique while working with a client who had been tearing his hair out at that early shaping stage. With my help, in under five minutes he went from having no clue about how to order his report to imposing a clear, coherent, logical structure on his ideas.

I've since gone on to share this technique with other report writers and trust me they're always blown away by its power and simplicity. I can't wait to share this technique with you - and you'll be glad I did!

Report writing with impact to win readers over

But this course won't just save you time as a writer. It will also help you save your readers time - and they will love you for it!

The American novelist Elmore Leonard famously advised writers to leave out the parts that readers skip. And I'm going to be showing you how to leave out the parts of a report all, yes ALL, readers skip. The pointless parts every report writer thinks are helping readers, but are really hindering them.

And I'll be busting some myths about that all important executive summary. It's the only part of your report you can guarantee everyone will read, so you'll want to make sure it's as powerfully persuasive as it can be. I'll show you how.

Stand out from the crowd with a report that looks as good as it reads

Finally, I'll be showing you how to take your almost-finished report up a notch with simple design and layout tips from a seasoned design professional. You'll even discover one little design trick that's been scientifically - yes, scientifically - proven to boost your credibility and persuasiveness with readers.

So what are you waiting for? Let's get that report written today!

Who is the target audience?
  • Anyone who's never written a business report before and doesn't know where to start
  • Anyone who lacks confidence in their report writing skills - either because they've never been formally trained in report writing or because they're not getting the results they want from their reports
  • This course is not for students writing college reports. The emphasis is on writing reports in a business or bureaucratic context.
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Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 30 Lectures Collapse All 30 Lectures 01:35:32
2 Lectures 02:39

Meet your instructor, Dr Clare Lynch. Learn what to expect from this course on report writing.

Preview 02:39

Use this workbook as you progress through the course. It's full of cheat sheets to help you write your report.

Activity: Download your course workbook
17 pages
First, PREPARE for success
6 Lectures 12:19

What you'll learn in this section on preparing to write your report.

Preview 00:11

How to avoid descending into the rabbit hole of digital data - and stay in the flow of writing your report without getting distracted.

How to shave hours off your research so you can get down to writing

There are many different reasons for writing a report. But, as we see in this lecture, one purpose underlines them all.

Why are you writing? The purpose of a business report

Three things to get straight in your head before you sit down to write your report.

Three questions you must ask before you start writing your report

Preparing for success
4 questions

A quick reminder of what we've covered in this section on preparing to write your report.

Preparing for success: key points to remember

Take a moment to reflect on what you've learned about preparing for success.

Activity: Reflective learning exercise on preparing for success
Next, PICK a winning format
6 Lectures 16:06

What you'll learn in this section on picking a winning format for your report.

Preview 00:13

Why a good brief is essential - and will stop you going off track when writing a report.

How to make sure you deliver a report that meets everyone's expectations

Terms of reference? Appendices? Learn what these and other report elements are for - and whether you need to include them.

Preview 06:46

It's just a summary of the whole report, right? Wrong! Here's why.

The most important part of any report: the executive summary

Report formats
5 questions

A quick reminder of what we've covered in this section on picking a winning format for your report.

Report formats: key points to remember

Take a moment to reflect on what you've learned about picking a winning format for your report.
Activity: Reflective learning exercise on picking a winning format
10 Lectures 31:02

What you'll learn in this section on planning and presenting your ideas powerfully in your report.

Preview 00:13

Ditch mind mapping and everything you learned about writing at college. Here's how to get your ideas down on paper - quickly and painlessly.

This is gold dust! Never sweat over structure again with this 5-minute technique

How to organise your thoughts into logical paragraphs.

How to make your writing flow 1: powerful paragraphs

A handy tip for checking if your paragraphs are in the right order.

How to make your writing flow 2: ordering paragraphs logically

How easy do you find it to return these sentences to their original order?

Activity: Put these topic sentences in the correct order

How to keep your reader with you by crafting sentences that follow on naturally from each other.

How to make your writing flow 3: ordering your sentences

Dos and don'ts for using signposts to guide your reader through your report.

Preview 06:34

Buzzword bingo, acronym soup - and other no-nos that will turn your report's readers off.

What's the most appropriate writing style for a report?

Planning and presenting your ideas powerfully
5 questions

A quick reminder of what we've covered in this section on presenting your ideas powerfully when writing a report.

Planning and presenting your ideas powerfully: key points to remember

Take a moment to reflect on what you've learned about planning and presenting your ideas.

Activity: Reflective learning exercise on planning and presenting your ideas
Finally, POLISH and PROOF like a PRO
5 Lectures 14:23

What you'll learn in this section on polishing and proofing your report.

Preview 00:17

Expert insights on how to make your report look as good as it reads.

Design tips for report writers

How to maximise your chances of catching the errors that will diminish your credibility.

Polishing and proofing your report

Polishing and proofing like a pro
5 questions

A quick reminder of what we've covered in this section on proofing and polishing your report.

Proofing and polishing: key points to remember

Take a moment to reflect on what you've learned about polishing and proofing your report.

Activity: Reflective learning exercise on polishing and proofing like a pro
Over to you!
1 Lecture 01:58

Congratulations - you're done! Stay in touch and let me know what you think. Download a coupon for my other course on business writing.

Final thoughts and discount on my flagship course
About the Instructor
4.7 Average rating
336 Reviews
3,913 Students
4 Courses
Writing tutor, Cambridge University

Teaches writing at Cambridge University - the ONLY Udemy writing instructor who does!

The ONLY Udemy writing instructor who's actually written documents for leading organisations like these:

Aberdeen Asset Management
BNP Paribas
Brunswick PR
Deutsche Bank
King's College, Cambridge 
Misys International Banking Systems Ltd
Prudential UK and Europe
Royal Bank of Scotland
TowerBrook Capital Partners
Tradition (interdealer brokers)
REA Group

And trained students and executives to write at:

European Banking Authority
Judge Business School, University of Cambridge
Language Centre, University of Cambridge
Mavens of London
Prince's Trust

Creator of Good Copy, Bad Copy, which Copyblogger named in its list of 15 copywriting and content marketing blogs that will make you more money

Former Financial Times journalist

I'm Dr Clare Lynch and I love helping anyone in business find their voice as a writer.

I've trained and coached people at a variety of organisations. I've helped executives break through the career roadblock created by poor, underconfident writing. I also teach academic writing and professional communication at the University of Cambridge.

I'm also a director at Cambridge Language Education and Research Associates (CLERA), which provides English language training and consultancy to governments, universities, the private sector and schools, both in the UK and overseas. 

And for the past two decades, I've made a very good living as a business writer myself. After receiving my PhD in Old English from Cambridge, I founded Doris and Bertie Ltd. As the managing director of Doris and Bertie, I head a team of business writing experts that works with anyone who needs to write as part of their job. 

I'm also the author of the business-writing blog Good Copy, Bad Copy. It's named on Copyblogger's list of 15 copywriting and content marketing blogs that will make you more money.

But for me, the best part of my job involves sharing my knowledge of business writing with others. I love giving other people in business the confidence to write in a way that allows them to connect with others. With their clients, their customers, their team, their bosses, the Board or potential investors – whoever they need to win over.

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