Depending on the size of the projects, it may sometimes be necessary to report on a weekly basis, such as in research projects, internships, or in trade and retail. A good weekly report should allow a manager to quickly assess the progress of the project.
Part 1 of 3: Prepare your data
Step 1. Determine the reason for your report
In order to write a weekly report that is relevant to your hierarchy, find out why your manager needs a report each week. Since it can't be to keep you in your job, target the need and you will come out with a quality report every week.
- Most of the time, the purpose of a report is to give the status of the project progress, which allows those in charge to make decisions based on it.
- Taking the example of a spare parts business, the manager will have to make a weekly sales report. This report will be used to evaluate sales, allow to see for restocking, review prices or consider promotions on certain products.
- Note that writing a report every week as part of an internship or a research project allows you, with your manager or your tutor, to see the progress made to achieve the objectives and to discuss what you have discovered..
Step 2. Know your readers
Knowing your audience is essential to effectively completing your report and for it to respond well to your need. Be aware that if you have no idea who is going to read your report, you may not be doing what you are asked to do.
- Knowing who to address the report to is essential, because you will not treat the subject the same way. For example, whatever the subject of the debriefing, you will not use the same words for a teenage audience and for a group of experts in the field you want to cover.
- By having an idea of who will read your report, you will be able to know the extent of their knowledge on the subject you cover in your weekly report. If your report discusses an evolution on a law of the Labor Code and your readers belong to a law firm specializing in labor law, you will not need to present the law and you will be able to present the changes directly to to come. Conversely, for the same subject, but with entrepreneurs who are concerned by this law and whose evolution will generate major changes for their profession, you will need to go into more depth on the subject.
- Be careful, your tutor or your teacher does not represent your audience, if you have to write a document as part of a research, an internship or any other exercise for your studies. To define the target of your report, look at what is the subject of your work and also take into account the area of your studies.
Step 3. Identify the important items
Your audience won't read your review as a whole, even if you try to be succinct. So you need to organize it so that the most relevant points are seen by your readers. So put important items at the start of your report for your audience to read.
- For a report on a comparative study of three similar products where you need to give your conclusions to a company that wants to acquire the best of the three, present at the beginning the one that you think is the most interesting. Then you can expand in your report why you came to this conclusion.
- Usually, the first page of the report gives the conclusions, recommendations or results of the study carried out. The rest of the pages of the report support your presentation on the first page. Your readers will be able to browse them, if they feel the need to.
Step 4. Accept the fate that is reserved for your document
Usually, weekly reports are filed without being read. They are there just to keep track of the progress of the business. So don't be offended if your work isn't read diligently every week.
- Be careful, even if you are aware that your report is unlikely to be read, you must not reduce its quality. Do not be lax about the content of your report. Stay factual and relevant. You must render a job that is up to the task assigned to you. This is a professional commitment that you must respect.
- Despite the fact that you will be keen to write a report commensurate with your skills, you will have to be vigilant about the elements that will surely be read. So be careful to be irreproachable on your recommendations, conclusions or results that you give.
- Do not imagine that your hierarchy does not read your reports out of lack of interest or laziness. A manager knows how to make relevant decisions by knowing the essential elements. Because of this, a manager will not read a weekly report in its entirety, but will keep it handy. He may subsequently, for one reason or another, be brought to take a more profound interest in certain points.
Part 2 of 3: Structure your report
Step 1. Build on the business model
It is not uncommon for a business to use its own unique weekly reporting format. In addition, managers are no doubt accustomed to retrieving information from a pre-established framework. By using a different report format, you may interfere with the smooth running of business.
- Note that the importance of the report format is visible in the sale, for example. A manager will usually glance at the graph or line of interest in the weekly report. If you decide not to follow the model used by the company, people who need information will have to browse through it to find the information they want.
- Find out from people who might know if there is a weekly report template, such as executive assistants. Thus, you will not need to build a model. It is very common that companies already have a template formatted with tables, fonts, margins already established.
Step 2. Adapt the sending of the report
Submit your report, using the appropriate medium used. If you forward your document as an attachment to an email, the information will be presented differently than if you hand in a paper report.
- To send the report by email, you will need to submit a summary in the email. This way, everyone who opens the email will be immediately informed of the content of the attachment. The latter will only be opened by those who wish to read the report.
- For the presentation of a paper report, the first page will be very important to be able to know what it is and for its classification. It will have to present a title, even some indications such as a date, the name of the editor and the number of pages.
- Regardless of how you send the report, you will need to write the author's name on the first page, as pages from two reports can get mixed up at the printer. Pagination should be present, for example "X of Y" to allow any reader to ensure that they have all the pages of the report.
- It is important that you clearly identify on each page the name of the author, the subject, the concerned week and the pagination. You can enter this information in the header of the report pages, for example.
Step 3. Write a summary
At the beginning of your report, write a summary that is no more than two paragraphs long. Remember to use sentences to evoke each of the sections of your report. Normally, if you do your summary well, a manager will be able, upon reading it, to take appropriate action without having to read the summary.
- The writing of the summary must be simple and factual to allow each reader to have a good understanding quickly. Don't try to use words that are too specific, even if the people you're talking to are supposed to understand them.
- Write your summary once you have finished writing your report in detail. You are going to tell me that it is difficult to summarize something that is not yet written. However, you might be tempted to use the elements of your writing plan as a summary. Do not do it ! Elements may change during the course of the drafting.
Step 4. Organize the different parts of your report
As soon as you understand what is the framework for writing your report, develop the plan according to the headings provided in your report, this will allow you to have better visibility on the writing of your document.
- Control the passage from one part to another in your report. You have to be able to switch from one part to another easily. The reader should not lose the thread of your demonstration. Finally, write your document taking into account the audience you have identified.
- Normally, you should have in your report: a synthesis, an introduction, recommendations, results, debates and conclusions. You can also have a list of references and appendices to more precisely outline elements, when necessary. If your document is long, you will need to include a table of contents. However, a weekly debriefing should not be too long.
- Be aware that each part of your report should deal with a separate topic. The paragraphs that make up a part each contain an idea. So for a part that shows the smartphones that teens buy, you can have a paragraph for each brand of phone. You can have two subparts with one for boys and one for girls. Consider putting explicit titles for each of the sub-sections. Then make paragraphs following the brands for girls and boys.
Step 5. Write a first cover page
Depending on the length of the report, it may be useful to write a first page with a title, your name, your function and date, or even a small description of the purpose of this report. This concerns long intercourse, for the little ones it is not necessary to do it.
- Note that a first page with the title, your name and other identifying elements are there to facilitate archiving. This information on the cover of the report is therefore not a summary of the content.
- Check if there is a standard format for coverage in your business for weekly reports. If there is a first page type, use it.
- Have at least on your cover page an explicit title, your name and that of those who participated in the development of this weekly report, the name of the company must also appear there, as well as a date which must be that of the day of writing or transmission of the report.
Part 3 of 3: use hard-hitting formulas
Step 1. Identify your different sections
Name each part and sub-part explicitly, this is a great help for your readers. You will allow your audience to quickly find the part that interests them in your weekly report.
- Write meaningful but succinct titles for the different sections and subsections. It will be of great help to your readers.
- If your report shows smartphone purchases, you might, for example, have a section for men, women, and teens. In each of these three parts, you will be able to create subsections on buying times, trends and the most popular brands.
- Keep the same writing style for all of your titles. If you have the part for men which is titled "Buy whimsical men", you can have "Buy whimsical women" for the part which relates to women. Do not write, for example, the title "Buy Female Sex" for the part about them.
Step 2. Be intelligible and sober in your words
Write short, sufficient sentences that are organized around a subject followed by a verb and a complement. Your readers will see that you are familiar with the topic of your report and will have confidence in your conclusions and recommendations.
- Once you've finished writing your document, reread it and remove anything that isn't useful. Make sure every action has an actor. To make sure you haven't forgotten a pilot for each operation, ask yourself who does what for each sentence leading to an action.
- Eliminate unnecessary repetitions and unnecessary repetitions such as "for the purpose of", "for" or "use of".
- This way of writing may seem uninviting to you. Realize that the purpose of your report is not to distract, but to report weekly on a topic to enable your audience to make decisions.
Step 3. Be honest and factual in what you write
When you include recommendations in your report, make sure they are based on verified and verifiable facts. Do not give advice on a personal impression, but on specific facts in words that do not cast doubt on the reader.
- Do not use words, adjectives and phrases that would influence in a negative or positive way. Build on factual evidence.
- For example, you might have a weekly report that you write on the smartphone sales of your store that is part of a store network. In your report, you could make a recommendation that one of your salespeople be promoted. You do this by not leading things on the basis of an emotional aspect like “she's super nice to customers” which is subjective. Present verifiable facts like "She has had the best sales numbers in over a year" to support your proposition.
Step 4. Use powerful verbs
When writing your report, consider using action verbs when necessary to make it clear that this is an action. Focus on using strong verbs that make it clear that this is an action.
- Prefer effective verbs like "use" instead of "use" to present an action to be done.
- The verbs leading to a reflection are used, like the verbs, to believe, to envisage, to think, to know. However, their impact is weaker than an action verb. In some cases, it will be more interesting to revisit your thought-based sentence, such as "I think sales are going to be higher at the end of the year." Instead, write: "Looking at the numbers for the last three years, sales will be higher for the last two months of the year." Make sure you base your words on hard facts.
- Seek to have writing that takes action. Proofread your report and remove as many prepositions and words ending in "ion" as possible, which you can replace with action verbs. Thus, "consensus of opinion" can be replaced by "consensus" and just as "protect" is more interesting than the expression "provides protection".
Step 5. Avoid using the passive voice as much as possible
When you use the passive voice, you obscure the actor and emphasize the action. Depending on the context (diplomatic, political), the passive voice is an asset. However, this results in a less clear text which leads to some confusion.
- Know that the active voice allows to highlight the actor of an action carried out and in the eyes of a reader, the pilot of an action is clearly identified. To get a better idea, for example, take a newspaper article about rescuing a child from drowning. If the information is presented like this: "The child who had ventured too far could not make it back to the beach. Carried away by the current, he quickly grew tired. Eventually he was saved from a looming drowning. " In this passage, we understand that the child was saved, but we do not know who carried out this action. By changing the last sentence, as follows: "finally, the lifeguard, Pierre Kicoul, reacted quickly and went to look for the child before he drowned", we see immediately who is the author of the act of bravery.
- Note that the active voice is important for presenting actions that could have negative effects. In your report, if you note "mistakes have occurred", the manager who reads it will want to know the perpetrator so that he can reframe him if necessary. Note that if it was you who made a mistake, it is fashionable to say so. In addition, it is known that any fault said is half forgiven.
- If you want to suppress sentences that are in the passive voice, locate the verbs "to be", then determine the action in the sentence. Then, identify the actor and rephrase the sentence to highlight him.
Step 6. Use the best presentation based on the information
In a report, it is a good idea to use tables or graphs to convey certain information. This way of communicating about data is often much more effective than a paragraph that introduces it.
- Take the right visual tool in your report to present things to your audience and that should be one of the goals to achieve in writing your report.
- You can, for example, use a histogram to illustrate the evolution of smartphone sales for the same week, but over different years. For the reader, the information given in graphical form will be much easier to understand than if you had presented it in a table in which they should have gone through the numbers to see the differences. While the graph allows you to see the situation straight away.
- Understand that we are all prone to capture visual elements more quickly when they are well presented. Make sure that your data is well presented and correctly positioned on the pages. Use charts and tables only when they support your conclusions and recommendations.
Step 7. Don't use buzzwords
Depending on the industry or workplace, there is jargon or expressions that are commonly used. Do not try to repeat them in your report, they will not help in any way to convey the message you want to convey in your weekly report.
- Make a list of words commonly used in your industry. Then, when you have finished writing your report, search your report for these words to replace them when useful.
- Think about your audience, if you use too many hip words it doesn't necessarily mean you're knowledgeable about your industry. It may even be the opposite. Note that managers who are often older than you have seen a lot of buzzwords coming and going. So, it's best to avoid using words that won't demonstrate your worth and might make you look lazy or trying to show off.
- Be careful not to use overly fancy words. Whatever the level of specificity or technicality of your industry, keep it simple and clear. So, for a report on the development of a law, do not use all the legal terms in your document.
Step 8. Proofread
Remember to finish your report early enough to have time to review it. If you have a lot of grammar and typing mistakes, besides confusing the reader, you will reflect badly on yourself.
- Use your word processing software's spelling and grammar checker, but don't expect it to correct all mistakes. This tool can still be improved. It will omit typing errors, for example "almond" instead of "fine" (homophone).
- Proofread from the end of your report back to the beginning. This technique will help you spot errors that you might not see in the other direction due to familiarity with the subject. You could omit words your brain would give you that are not in the text. This proofreading technique can help to overcome these kinds of problems.
- Read your document aloud. As you read your report this way, you will be able to see if there are parts that are difficult to read or that the turn of the sentences does not bring the idea as you had imagined. Your readers will experience the same problem, so rework these parts to "sound better" to ear.