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7 Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills

Writing, like any other skill, is something you can get better at with time and practice. Learn how.

[Featured Image]: A woman with curly hair and wearing a white long sleeve shirt, writing in her notebook, while sitting in front of her computer.

From sending emails to preparing presentations, writing is often a day-to-day task in many professions spanning diverse industries. Writing skills go beyond grammar and spelling. Accuracy, clarity, persuasiveness, and several other elements play a part in ensuring your writing is conveying the right message.

What are writing skills?

Writing is a technical skill that you use to communicate effectively through the written word. Though these may vary depending on what you’re writing, there are several that transcend categories. Writing skills can more specifically include:

Sentence construction

Research and accuracy


Each of these components can influence the quality of writing.



Effective Communication: Writing, Design, and Presentation

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Why are writing skills important?

Being able to write well is a form of effective communication , which many employers see as a crucial job skill . In fact, strong communication—spanning written, verbal, non-verbal, and visual—is among the nine common employability skills that employers seek in job candidates.

Regardless of your role, with good writing skills, you can clearly transcribe your thoughts into meaningful messages, enabling you to share your ideas, build relationships, and strengthen your professional image.

Learn more: Important Communication Skills and How to Improve Them

How to improve your writing skills

Writing, like any other skill, is something we can get better at with time and practice. Here are some strategies for developing your own written communication:

1. Review grammar and spelling basics.

Grammar and spelling form the foundation of good writing. Writing with proper grammar and spelling communicates your professionality and attention to detail to your reader. It also makes your writing easier to understand.  

Plus, knowing when and how to use less-common punctuation, like colons, semicolons, and em-dashes, can unlock new ways to structure sentences and elevate your writing. 

If you’re looking to strengthen your grammar and spelling, start by consulting a writing manual. The Elements of Style by William Stunk and E.B. White has long been considered a staple for writers. You can find similar resources at your local library, bookstore, or online.


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2. Read what you want to write.

Knowing what a finished piece of writing can look like can guide your own. If you’re trying to write a humorous short story, read humorous short stories. Writing a book review? Find a few and take note of how they’re structured. Pay attention to what makes them good and what you want to emulate (without plagiarizing, of course). If you’re working on a school assignment, you can ask your instructor for examples of successful pieces from past students.

Make reading a part of your everyday life to improve your writing. Try reading the news in the morning or picking up a book before you head to bed. If you haven’t been a big reader in the past, start with topics you’re interested in, or ask friends and family for recommendations. You’ll gradually begin to understand what subjects, genres, and authors you enjoy.

3. Proofread.

While it’s tempting to submit work as soon as you’re done with it, build in some time to revisit what you’ve written to catch errors big and small. Here are a few proofreading tips to keep in mind:

Set your work aside before you edit. Try to step away from your writing for a day or more so you can come back to it with fresh, more objective eyes. Crunched for time? Even allotting 20 minutes between writing and proofreading can allow you to approach your work with renewed energy.

Start with easy fixes, then progress to bigger changes. Starting with easier changes can get you in the rhythm for proofreading, allow you to read through your work once more, and clear distractions so you can focus on bigger edits. Read through your work to catch misspellings, inconsistencies, and grammar errors. Then address the larger problems with structure or awkward transitions. 

If you could say something in fewer words, do so. Being unnecessarily wordy can cloud your message and confuse the reader. Pare down phrases that are redundant, repetitive, or obvious.

Read out loud. Reading out loud can help you find awkward phrases and areas where your writing doesn’t flow well. 

Should you use computer spelling and grammar tools?

Many computer-based tools—like spell check on your word processor, or Grammarly — can help you find and fix simple spelling and grammar errors. These tools are not perfect but can help even the most seasoned of writers avoid mistakes. Take note of any frequently highlighted words or phrases so that you can avoid the same mistakes in the future.

4. Get feedback.

Whether you’re writing emails or essays, asking for feedback is a great way to see how somebody besides yourself will interpret your text. Have an idea of what you’d like your proofreader to focus on—the structure, conclusion, the persuasiveness of an argument, or otherwise. 

Approach a trusted friend, family member, coworker, or instructor. If you’re a student, your school might also have a writing resource center you can reach out to. 

You might also consider forming a writing group or joining a writing class. Find writing courses online, at your local community college, or at independent writing workshops in your city.

5. Think about structure.

Grammar and spelling keep your writing consistent and legible, but structure ensures the big ideas get across to the reader.

In many cases, forming an outline will help solidify structure. An outline can clarify what you’re hoping to convey in each section, enable you to visualize the flow of your piece, and surface parts that require more research or thought. 

Structure might look different depending on what you’re writing. An essay typically has an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. A fiction piece might follow the six-stage plot structure: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution, and denouement. Choose what’s best for your purposes.


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Like many skills, one of the best ways to improve your writing is to practice. Here are a few ways you can get started:

Start a journal or a blog.

Join a class or writing workshop.

Practice free writing.

Write letters to friends or family.

Put together an opinion piece for your local newspaper or publication you like.

7. Know some common fixes.

Even if a text is grammatically correct, you may be able to make it more dynamic and interesting with some polish. Here are some common ways you can sharpen your writing:

Choose strong verbs (for example, “sprinted,” “dashed,” or “bolted” instead of “ran”).

Avoid passive voice.

Vary sentence length.

Cut unnecessary words.

Replace cliches with original phrasing.


Good with Words: Writing and Editing

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Showing your writing skills in a job search

Your writing skills will shine throughout the job search process , whether or not you intend to show them off. This is because job applications are largely written materials, including your cover letter , resume , and email communications . Use these opportunities to demonstrate your writing skills to prospective employers by submitting clear, accurate, and engaging materials.

Additionally, if you have specialized expertise, such as experience with legal writing, medical writing, technical writing, or scientific writing, you can note that in a resume skills section and further detail that experience within your cover letter or during your interviews .

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Getting started

Whether you’re a scientist or a product manager, journalist or entrepreneur, writing effectively will enable you to communicate your ideas to the world. Through practice, exposure, and familiarizing yourself with basic rules, you’ll be able to use your writing to say exactly what you want to say.

If you’re looking for a structured way to expand your writing skillset, explore writing courses on Coursera —the first week is free.

Give your team access to a catalog of 8,000+ engaging courses and hands-on Guided Projects to help them develop impactful skills. Learn more about Coursera for Business .

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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10 Easy Steps to Better Report Writing

on 07 Feb 2023

How you write creates an impression, for good or bad. Persuasive writing generates engagement, motivation and drives action.

10 Easy Steps to Better Report Writing

If your writing is 'sticky', then at the very least, it keeps the audience reading.

Did it work? If you are still reading, then it did! To help you keep your readers engaged and entertained, we've collated some easy steps to help improve your report writing.

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Ten easy steps to improve your report writing

1. find a good role model or mentor.

To be a good writer, you should surround yourself with good writing. Learn from the best and regularly read a good mix of writing in books, newspapers, trade magazines and online articles. Your colleagues' reports may also provide inspiration and creative muse and give you an idea of what's been done before.

2. Decide what you're going to say

Don't start writing too soon. Consider what you'll say and why (your aim, purpose and objectives in writing). Identify who your typical reader is (e.g. novice or expert, what they need to get from your report, whether colleagues or outside your company, etc.). This information helps you pitch your writing at the right level.

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3. Plan the structure of your report

Decide what heading and/or key sections to include. Use internal templates (if available), mind-mapping software, or document outline tools to plan the flow and structure.

4. Gather & sift any source information

Only use data, statistics and background information from reliable and established sources to maintain credibility. Sense check any data you use by checking for a second source for validation.

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5. Respect intellectual property rights

Uphold the principles of good writing by respecting others' IP; acknowledge sources and references to improve credibility and allow reader follow-up. When quoting from a source, be mindful of any republication limitations.

6. Create a draft report

Don't expect to produce a masterpiece straight off. Most writing goes through several edits before final approval. It is a good opportunity to spot anything you may have missed too.

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7. Engage readers by using writing techniques

Use real-world examples, anecdotes, and storytelling to bring your report to life. A picture really can be a thousand words. Sometimes your message is clearer and stronger when presented in visual form. So add data tables, charts and images to add interest and improve understanding.

8. Assess & review your draft

Once you have a draft, assess and review what you've written. Is it too long or too short? Are sections missing? Should you remove anything? Can you improve readability? Enlist the help of your peers to offer further insight and identify improvements.

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9. Final proofing of the report

Pay attention to detail. Focus on spelling, grammar, punctuation, format, spacing, professionalism, logic, look and feel. It's worth taking more time here so your writing isn't remembered for all the wrong reasons.

10. Peer review & sign-off

Once your report is complete, it is worth getting a colleague to proof it. If they are happy with the report, it is time to get managerial approval before distribution.

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15 Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills Dramatically

Karen Hertzberg

Learning a variety of tricks to improve writing skills isn’t as difficult as you may think. We’ve put together a list of steps to help you make dramatic improvements to the quality of your writing in short order.

Becoming a better writer takes practice , and you’re already practicing. No, seriously—you write a lot. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a writer, you put thoughts into text more often than you realize. At the very least, you write emails —a lot of emails—post on social media, make updates to your résumé and LinkedIn profile , and message your friends. If your job requires it, you also create things like reports, presentations , newsletters . . . it’s a long list.

Here’s a tip: Want to make sure your writing shines? Grammarly can check your spelling and save you from grammar and punctuation mistakes. It even proofreads your text, so your work is extra polished wherever you write.

Give your writing extra polish Grammarly helps you communicate confidently Write with Grammarly

So, you’re already writing. Now, to improve writing is just a matter of becoming conscious of the things you can do to give your text more structure and make your copy crisp and readable with a conversational style.

Give your writing structure

It’s fine to rattle off a stream of consciousness when you’re writing in your journal, but if you actually want to communicate with others you’ll need to bring some order to those rambling thoughts. Here are some tips.

1 Make sure you’re clear on the concepts you’re writing about.

Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” Before you start writing, take a moment to mentally explain the concept to the six-year-old who lives inside your head. (We all have one, don’t we?) If your writing goal is to achieve a specific result, ask yourself what that result should be. Before you dive into writing, have a clear purpose. Then stick to it.

2 If the message is complex, outline it.

It doesn’t take much thought-organizing to compose the average text message, but if you’re writing something more complex, with multiple angles, questions, or requests, get all that stuff sorted before you sit down to write. Making an outline , or even just some quick notes about the topics you want to cover, can save you time answering clarifying questions later. 

3 Anticipate your readers’ questions.

Improving writing involves putting yourself in your readers’ shoes (you could call it empathy ). Do they have enough context to understand what you’ve written for them? If not, fill in the blanks. But . . .

4 Don’t over-explain.

If you’ve taken the time to organize your thoughts in advance, you should be able to keep things simple. The idea is to give readers just enough to understand what you’re communicating without overwhelming them with trivial details. If you find yourself getting in the weeds with more details than you need, look at each piece of information and ask whether it’s essential to help your reader understand your message. If not, get rid of it.

Write with confidence. Real-time writing feedback, wherever you need it. Get Grammarly

Tighten your writing

We sometimes write like we talk, and that can be a good thing. It keeps our writing conversational (more on that in a moment.) But rambling, wordy writing makes your text hard to read, and it can make you sound as though you lack conviction. Start practicing these tips to improve your writing skills.

5 Go easy on the prepositional phrases

When I was a neophyte writer, someone showed me how prepositional phrases made my writing unnecessarily wordy and complex. It was an epiphany!

Prepositions aren’t difficult to understand, but the concept does require some explanation. Get smart about prepositions here , and then try to simplify them whenever it makes sense. Your writing will get a much-needed clarity boost.

6 Eliminate the filler words and phrases

Some words show up in our writing all the time, and yet they don’t contribute much of anything. Although these filler words and phrases sometimes add color or even meaning, most of the time they contribute nothing but clutter. Here are thirty-one of them you can eliminate right now.

>> READ MORE: How to Ensure Your Writing Is Concise and Clear

7 Don’t pad weak words with adverbs.

Adverbs —those words that often end in -ly—modify verbs and sometimes adjectives. They’re okay once in a while, but when you find yourself using them all the time, you’re probably making weak word choices. Instead of “ran really fast” write “sprinted.” Was something “extremely funny”? Nah, it was “hilarious.” The scenery may have been “very beautiful,” but your writing’s going to shine if you refer to it as “gorgeous,” “lush,” “verdant,” or “bucolic.”

Make your writing more conversational

8 stick with simple words..

Bestselling author John Grisham said, “There are three types of words: (1) words we know; (2) words we should know; (3) words nobody knows. Forget those in the third category and use restraint with those in the second.” There’s a difference between having a rich vocabulary and dropping million-dollar words into your writing just to show off. Unless it’s your intent to be poetic, keep your language simple and direct.

I’m certain sure you are able to can deliver the quality of work we’re looking for. Let’s discuss talk about it in our meeting next week.

9 Use contractions.

English speakers use contractions —you’re, I’m, we’re, they’re, can’t, didn’t. Your writing will sound stiff and formal without them. For example:

I am sure you are able to deliver the quality of work we are looking for. Let us discuss it in our meeting next week.

Now, let’s add some contractions. Doesn’t this sound less stuffy?

I’m sure you can deliver the quality of work we’re looking for. Let’s talk about it in our meeting next week.

10 Try transcribing yourself.

Record yourself talking. You can learn a lot about conversational writing using this one weird trick! (Sorry, Buzzfeed, we tease because we care.)

Try transcribing a conversation you’ve recorded (with the other person’s permission, of course). Transcribe a couple of minutes of the conversation word-for-word. Then, fix or remove any false starts and remove filler (um, uh, like, you know)— et voila! —you’ve got yourself some conversational writing. The process of transcribing and editing will help you learn what to do and what not to.

11 Throw away the grammar rule book . . . within reason.

We, the Grammarly team, give you permission to start sentences with conjunctions . And (see what we did there?) unless you’re writing something formal, we’re perfectly okay with you ending some sentences with prepositions. 

12 Keep your sentences simple.

Literary greats can write long, complex sentences with flair. Why not you? Well, for starters you’re probably not trying to write like Tolstoy, Nabokov, or Faulkner. Short, less complicated sentences are easier to read. Keep it simple, silly! But do vary your sentence length so your writing has a nice flow.

13 Read it out loud.

Speaking of flow, reading your writing aloud can help you determine whether it flows smoothly. If it sounds choppy and clipped, add a few longer sentences to break up that steady, monotonous beat. If you find yourself stumbling over parts, you’ve probably found an overly complex sentence that needs rewriting. 

14 Infuse your personality into your writing

Letting your personality shine through is the best way to develop a writing style. Use the phrases and slang that you would normally use (within reason). When it’s appropriate, throw in a relevant personal anecdote. In all but the most formal or professional writing settings, be yourself when you write.

15 Practice, practice, practice!

The ultimate way to improving writing is to learn what weakens it in the first place, and then set your mind to fixing (and eventually preventing) the glitches. The more you write, edit , and proofread, the better you get at it.

Here’s a tip: You don’t have to guess whether you’re using certain words correctly or breaking  grammar rules in your writing. Just  copy and paste your writing  into our Grammar Checker and get instant feedback on whether your sentences have misspellings, punctuation errors, or any structural mistakes.

improve report writing skills

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Report Writing Skills (SkillsFuture Credit-eligible)

Are your teams’ reports clear, credible and engaging? Do they make an impact on your organisation’s key stakeholders? Enough for them to quickly follow up and take action?

This course develops the fundamental skills of planning, structuring and writing reports. Your teams will gain valuable tools and techniques to make any report more targeted, persuasive and appealing to read. These essential skills will save your stakeholders valuable time and enhance your organisation’s professional image.

Workshop outline

Report writing essentials.

Writing the background and introduction to a report

Writing credible report findings 

Using visuals to make reports more appealing 

Writing effective report conclusions

Writing persuasive report recommendations 

Writing executive summaries  

Report writing mini-clinic   

Who should attend?

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL) is an international standard for describing language ability.

Why choose us?

Find out  why you should choose us  and how we deliver our workshops  face-to-face or online . 

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Writing Tips Oasis

How to Improve Your Report Writing Skills

By CS Rajan


Reports are a valuable resource of information and the ability to prepare an effective report is a highly valued skill. Educators, scientists, businesspersons, engineers and various other professionals are required to prepare reports on a regular basis, but often find it hard to draft a great report that conveys the information clearly.

Here are some points to consider that can help improve your report writing skills.

1. A report is not an essay

One of the main reasons for reports not being up to the mark is that they are often confused with essays . There are several similarities between these two forms of writing- they are both formal and structured, and require an analytical approach. However, essays are more idea and opinion based, while reports are strictly fact based. The tone of an essay is usually argumentative, while in a report, it is more of a passive, informational tone.

2. Follow the proper structure

Reports are required to follow a formal structure of several main sections, which are arranged in the proper order, such as: abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussions, conclusion, future steps, and references. A report is not the place to unleash your creative and freestyle writing side. In order to provide the necessary information in a logical and concise manner, reports must follow the proper structure. Reports usually also contain section headings, bullet points, graphs, tables and other organizational tools, to help the reader digest the information better.

3. Familiarize yourself with different types of reports

While all reports have several common structural elements, the actual style and nature of the report can vary depending on the subject, the readers, and the information to be presented. For example, laboratory reports and data analysis reports will be quite different in terms of style and expected content. So, familiarizing yourself with various types of reports can help you draft the perfect report for the particular requirement.

4. Gather and organize the information before you write

In a report, the information must be presented in a brief and concise manner. The information and/or results must also be analyzed, and discussed. So, before you draft the report, take some time to gather all the necessary material for making the conclusions and analyses. Remember to keep out any argumentative or opinionated comments, unless they are supported by the facts.

5. Use graphs, figures and tables appropriately

A picture is worth a thousand words, and a lot of information can be assimilated better from a suitable graph or figure, rather than a lengthy paragraph. Intersperse the report carefully with appropriate charts or tables, but remember to explain the information in the charts briefly in the text as well.

6. Use the correct tense, tone and style

Nothing is more off-putting while reading a formal piece of writing than mixed up tenses and voices. There is no fixed rule in reports about voice, but the general preference is for passive, third person writing. Also, past tense is preferred rather than present tense. However, pick whichever style works for you, and stick with it throughout the report. It is important that the report be consistent in tense, style, format and other elements which can otherwise distract from the main content.

Image credit: Jake Przespo on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0 [author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/CS_Rajan.jpg [/author_image] [author_info]CS Rajan is a freelance writer who loves to write on various topics, and is currently working on her first novel. [/author_info] [/author]

Reader Interactions

[…] the way they think. Whatever piece you’re writing, whether it is an opinion column, an essay, a report or a business proposal, you need to be able to alter your reader(s) perspective, usually in the […]


How to Improve Your Business Writing

improve report writing skills

Cut the fat.

You probably write on the job all the time: proposals to clients, memos to senior executives, a constant flow of emails to colleagues. But how can you ensure that your writing is as clear and effective as possible? How do you make your communications stand out?

What the Experts Say Overworked managers with little time might think that improving their writing is a tedious or even frivolous exercise. But knowing how to fashion an interesting and intelligent sentence is essential to communicating effectively, winning business, and setting yourself apart. “As Marvin Swift memorably said, clear writing means clear thinking ,” said Kara Blackburn, a senior lecturer in managerial communication at the MIT Sloan School of Management. “You can have all the great ideas in the world and if you can’t communicate, nobody will hear them.” Luckily, everyone has the capacity to improve, says Bryan Garner, author of The HBR Guide to Better Business Writing . Effective writing “is not a gift that you’re born with,” he says. “It’s a skill that you cultivate.” Here’s how to write simply, clearly, and precisely.

Think before you write Before you put pen to paper or hands to keyboard, consider what you want to say. “The mistake that many people make is they start writing prematurely,” says Garner. “They work out the thoughts as they’re writing, which makes their writing less structured, meandering, and repetitive.” Ask yourself: What should my audience know or think after reading this email, proposal, or report? If the answer isn’t immediately clear, you’re moving too quickly. “Step back and spend more time collecting your thoughts,” Blackburn advises.

Be direct Make your point right up front. Many people find that the writing style and structure they developed in school doesn’t work as well in the business world. “One of the great diseases of business writing is postponing the message to the middle part of the writing,” says Garner. By succinctly presenting your main idea first, you save your reader time and sharpen your argument before diving into the bulk of your writing. When writing longer memos and proposals, Garner suggests stating the issue and proposed solution in “no more than 150 words” at the top of the first page. “Acquire a knack for summarizing,” he says. “If your opener is no good, then the whole piece of writing will be no good.”

By the Same Author

How to tell a great story.

Cut the fat Don’t “use three words when one would do,” says Blackburn. Read your writing through critical eyes, and make sure that each word works toward your larger point. Cut every unnecessary word or sentence. There’s no need to say “general consensus of opinion,” for instance, when “consensus” will do. “The minute readers feel that a piece of writing is verbose they start tuning out,” says Garner. He suggests deleting prepositions ( point of view becomes viewpoint ); replacing –ion words with action verbs ( provided protection to becomes protected ); using contractions ( don’t instead of do not and we’re instead of we are ); and swapping is, are, was and were with stronger verbs ( indicates rather than is indicative of ).

Avoid jargon and $10 words Business writing is full of industry-specific buzzwords and acronyms. And while these terms are sometimes unavoidable and can occasionally be helpful as shorthand, they often indicate lazy or cluttered thinking. Throw in too many, and your reader will assume you are on autopilot — or worse, not understand what you’re saying. “Jargon doesn’t add any value,” says Blackburn, but “clarity and conciseness never go out of style.” Garner suggests creating a “ buzzword blacklist ” of words to avoid, including terms like “actionable,” “core competency,” “impactful,” and “incentivize.” You should also avoid using grandiose language. Writers often mistakenly believe using a big word when a simple one will do is a sign of intelligence. It’s not.

Read what you write Put yourself in your reader’s shoes. Is your point clear and well structured? Are the sentences straightforward and concise? Blackburn suggests reading passages out loud. “That’s where those flaws reveal themselves: the gaps in your arguments, the clunky sentence, the section that’s two paragraphs too long,” she says. And don’t be afraid to ask a colleague or friend — or better yet, several colleagues and friends — to edit your work. Welcome their feedback; don’t resent it. “Editing is an act of friendship,” says Garner. “It is not an act of aggression.”

Practice every day “Writing is a skill,” says Blackburn, “and skills improve with practice.” Garner suggests reading well-written material every day, and being attentive to word choice, sentence structure, and flow. “Start paying attention to the style of The Wall Street Journal ,” he says. Invest in a guide to style and grammar for reference — Garner recommends Fowler’s Modern English Usage . Most importantly, build time into your schedule for editing and revising. “Writing and reworking your own writing is where the change happens, and it’s not quick,” says Blackburn. “The time is well spent because good writers distinguish themselves on the job.”

Principles to Remember:

Case study #1: Don’t be afraid to share When David McCombie began working as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, he immediately realized that the writing style he’d honed at Harvard Law School wasn’t well suited for executive-level communications. “It was the structure of my arguments,” David says. “I was getting feedback that I needed to get to the point more quickly.”

With legal or academic writing, “you’re going to generally start with building up the case, and put the main point all the way at the end,” he says. “But in business communications, it’s best to start with your conclusion first.”

To make his writing more direct and effective, David asked several senior colleagues for all of their past presentations and reports so that he could mimic key elements of their format and style. He also copied trusted colleagues who were particularly skilled communicators on important emails and asked for their feedback.

David has carried these practices to the private equity firm he founded in Miami, the McCombie Group. “I send anything that’s important to my partner and he reads it over,” David says, adding that he knows better than to take the edits personally. “We talk about whether there is a better way to convey an idea, how we can be more succinct.”

Improving his writing has had a direct effect on David’s ability to become an influential voice in his field. He’s currently writing a book on his private equity firm’s niche market, The Family Office Practitioner’s Guide to Direct Investments.

“Even if I knew good business writing from the get-go, I think continually improving your writing and taking it to the next level is absolutely key to success,” David says. “The more you do it, the easier it becomes.”

Case study #2: Study good writing Tim Glowa had already built a successful career as a strategic marketing consultant when he decided to set his ambitions a little higher. “I wanted to be perceived as a thought leader,” Tim says, “and to do that, I needed to have a point of view and I needed to put that point of view out in public.”

He knew that crafting smart, digestible op-eds and research papers was key to improving his professional reputation. His writing was already well received by colleagues and peers but much of his experience was rooted in academic writing. So he began reading business publications, like McKinsey Quarterly, for style. “I studied how they communicate,” Tim says, “and made an effort to make my own writing more direct and concise.”

He also incorporated an outlining ritual into his writing. Before writing reports and memos, he now begins with a short outline of the three main objectives. “You can’t just start typing and expect to go somewhere,” he says. “That’s like going for a walk and not knowing where the destination is.”

Tim, now the cofounder of a marketing analytics firm called Bug Insights, believes the efforts have made him a more effective communicator, improving not just his longer writings, but his emails and even his voicemails. “It filters down into virtually all my communication,” he says. And his work is finding an audience. Several of his papers have been downloaded more than 100,000 times, and a Fortune 50 company recently used one of his papers in an internal training and development program.

Tim is gratified at his progress, but says he’s not going to stop putting in the extra effort. “You have to work at it,” he says. “Anytime you develop a new skill, you have to study it.”

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How to Improve Report Writing Skills?

February 19, 2022

improve report writing skills

Employees in a variety of jobs are required to create reports to summarize a test, corporate performance, or a task. Report writing abilities can assist you in producing high-quality reports that will impress your boss. If writing reports is a component of your job, it may be beneficial to brush up on your report writing skills . In this post, we define report writing talents , present examples, discuss strategies to enhance them, and discuss how to market these abilities when job hunting.

Besides reading and re-reading published reports, you can also take advice from peers and others who have written similar reports. You can also read the reports of your colleagues to gain a better understanding of the format and content. After all, good writing is like a sticky note that will stay in the reader’s mind. In addition, it will help you improve your report writing skills if you can apply the feedback.

Table of Contents

What Are Report Writing Skills?

Report writing skills are qualities that aid experts in the creation of reports, which are brief writings about a subject. Although there are many other types of writing occupations, such as reporters, journalists, and authors, report writing abilities can be used in a variety of situations. Lawyers , sales managers, and project managers , for example, may create reports related to their profession. These documents may provide project or study updates or analyses. Writing, editing , and researching are all talents that can be used in report writing. You may use these abilities to produce an eye-catching report with clear and relevant content.

Use an executive summary while creating a lengthy report. An executive summary is a succinct explanation of the report’s purpose, goal , and objective, as well as its scope. The executive summary of a project report will contain a quick overview of the project’s state or phase, as well as the analyses’ conclusions. A well-written executive summary can be used as a bookmark while reading the report. At first sight, a reader can tell if the report has the information they’re looking for.

What Are the Steps to Ace Report Writing?

Developing your writing skills is a skill that can be learned. Practicing makes perfect. Try getting constructive feedback from colleagues and implementing their suggestions. Using a Report Checklist will help you get a better idea of what to do and what not to do. Looking at other reports will help you develop your own report writing style. Consider applying similar conventions and structures to your own report. The following tips will help you develop your report writing skills.

The first step is to write a report brief. The brief provides guidelines and instructions about what should be written in the report. The brief might describe the topic, audience, purpose, and problem that must be resolved. The guide will also provide a general overview of the structure and content of the report. Once you have the overall outline, you can now focus on developing the rest of the paper. When you have all the elements in place, you’re ready to start writing your report!

Another essential step in report writing is to plan. It’s important to plan what you’re going to write and what will be important to the readers. By planning your report in advance, you’ll be able to organize the components and make it easier to read and understand. There are some techniques you can try out to improve your report writing skills. One of them is to follow a Report Checklist and study other reports that you have written.

While writing a report, you should always remember that it’s an important document for your audience. Often, the audience may have specific expectations. By keeping in mind these requirements, you’ll be better equipped to convey your information to the intended audience. By implementing these tactics, you’ll be better able to write informative reports. So, how can you improve your report? If you’re unsure of where to start, read as many reports as you can and learn from them.

What Are Some of the Way to Improve Writing Skills?

Creating an outline is a key part of report writing. Outlines are helpful tools for ensuring that your work is organized. Outlines also allow you to make notes about topics and ensure that your report is effective. By following these tips, you’ll improve your report writing skills in no time at all. You should not be afraid to ask for help from others and practice what you need to do. If you want to impress your audience, start by drafting a short and concise outline.

During the process of writing a report, you should always plan ahead. In most cases, the document has four parts: introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. When planning your report, make sure to plan out each element in advance. These will help you write a better and more efficient piece of work. In addition to planning, you should also take time to draft a template before you begin. This will help you to practice the strategies and will make it easier for you to create a flawless document.

When you’re writing a report, you should follow the guidelines that are set for your department. Usually, your report will have a brief that gives you the guidelines you need to write a successful document. An outline will help you keep your writing organized and make the process easier. It will also help you improve your report’s structure and content. You’ll have to know the audience and the purpose of the report, but it’s important to follow the guidelines of your department.

A report brief should be carefully read before you start writing. The brief contains instructions and guidelines for the whole report. The brief should include the audience, purpose, problem, and issue of the report. During the writing process, it is important to follow the guidelines of the department. When your audience can understand the purpose and objective of the document, you can write it in an engaging way. It will help you improve your communication skills .

What Are Some Examples of Report Writing?

The majority of reports necessitate research. This could involve internal or external research from your team or department. You might uncover data to support how well your team is performing, for example. Alternatively, you may include a quote from a scholar in your field in your report. The ability to identify relevant and reputable materials to support your work is referred to as research abilities.

The planning step of report writing is when you divide your work into sections. A summary, introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion are common features of most reports. This ability is useful since it allows you to organize the components of your report in a way that makes it easy to comprehend.

The capacity to communicate effectively with words is referred to as writing skills. Because preparing a report necessitates writing, this is a necessary skill. This skill also relates to your writing skills. The presence of great writing in a report could indicate that the language is professional and clear.

Reports frequently incorporate analysis, which is the process of coming to a conclusion or making a statement based on evidence. Explaining why or how something happened is also part of the analysis.

In writing, brevity refers to the ability to convey information in a few words or sentences. Although the length of reports varies by profession or company, the majority of reports are short.

What Are Some Report Writing Skills in the Workplace?

A scientific researcher may write a lab report about a test they conducted. They might include research from another professional in their report to back up their claims.

A financial analyst might make a budget report for a client. They may use their writing skills to create an easy-to-understand report.

 A social media manager could produce a report that examines their company’s social media performance. They may prepare a report based on the effectiveness of their social media campaign using analytical skills.

This is a task that a solid report writing process can do with ease. A professionally written report can help you avoid problems like lack of focus, poor communication between divisions or departments, inefficient workflow, which leads to missed deadlines, strained relationships , and more meetings and discussions, all of which lead to poor-quality work being delivered.

Employees can gather essential information in a thorough manner when they have a clear direction and understand the goal and objectives of writing a report, as well as its purpose and intent.

This data is shared with interested parties in a timely manner for analysis and interpretation. Good communication, delivered to the appropriate people at the right time in an easy-to-understand style, provides for faster and more effective decision-making and problem-solving.

People spend less time in virtual meetings, have more knowledge at their fingertips, and may utilize that information to back up future report writing and business recommendations. In real-time, valuable information can be disseminated.

About the author

Indu has been educator since last 10 years. She can find all kind of scholarship opportunities in the USA and beyond. She also teach college courses online to help students become better. She is one of the very rare scholarship administrator and her work is amazing.

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Writing Skills: 40 Useful Performance Feedback Phrases

Writing Skills: Use these sample phrases to craft meaningful performance evaluations, drive change and motivate your workforce.

Written Communication involves the interaction that makes use of the written word with precision and logic making it the very common form of business communication.

Writing Skills: Exceeds Expectations Phrases

  • Knows how to develop and write good eye-catching and grammatically correct sentences.
  • Shows excellent conversational techniques by including questions in the writings.
  • Knows how to play excellently with mini-stories in a way that captures the readers.
  • Creates free flowing paragraphs that connect very well to bring out a solid content.
  • Exudes great creativity with the content and uses simple words to create a story.
  • Makes good use of flavored words and avoids empty phrases that make stories tasteless.
  • Punctuates sentences in a proper manner and ensures that they are grammatically correct.
  • Avoids the usage of overly long sentences while developing content.
  • Ensures a good mix and balance of both hard and simple words within a story.
  • Follows to the letter all form and rules of proper writing, and tries to develop other creative styles.

Writing Skills: Meets Expectations Phrases

  • Ensures to counter check the work once finished to correct wrong punctuations, spellings, and incorrect grammar.
  • Uses a broad range of writing styles to try to capture the reader's attention.
  • Reads widely to come up with new exciting words and writing styles.
  • Listens to feedback from critics and tries to implement the review given.
  • Researches thoroughly on a topic before writing about it to have concrete facts and information.
  • Writes content comfortably using different linguistic languages to reach more audience.
  • Consults widely when facing difficulties in writing and seeks to be helped and be taught.
  • Shows good critical thinking abilities when writing for different contents.
  • Has developed a specialty of writing about a particular subject with ease and comfort.
  • Seeks the guidance of a mentor on how to develop the various writing skill sets.

Writing Skills: Needs Improvement Phrases

  • Delivers work that has too many grammatical and punctuation errors.
  • Uses complicated and hard words excessively while writing hence creating a boring atmosphere to the reader.
  • Writing overly long sentences something that creates a boring reading atmosphere for the reader.
  • Does not strive to have a good balance of both hard and simple words
  • Reads quite less and hence lacks knowledge of new words and writing styles.
  • Combines one paragraph with another causing a story not to flow well.
  • Does not do any thorough counterchecking to rectify the various writing errors such as spelling mistakes.
  • Starts writing without first drafting the ideas down and modifying it.
  • Does not implement any correction given out by the critics of the work.
  • Undertakes less or no research work on the topic to be written about hence writing using less or outdated facts and information.

Writing Skills: Self Evaluation Questions

  • How well do you do your research before you set out do any form of writing?
  • Do you get to draft or outline your writing first before you set out to write?
  • What is your best and worst piece of writing? Explain your answer.
  • Do you normally counter check your work for grammatical errors before submitting?
  • How do you receive feedback and do you set yourself to apply the ones you feel are beneficial to your writing?
  • How many books have your read so far and what is your preferred genre of writing?
  • Can you say you have a good mix and balance in your choice of words and writing styles respectively?
  • How many languages can you comfortably use in your writing?
  • Do you have a mentor to guide you in your writing and how has it benefited you so far?
  • Do you take online courses to help yourself to improve your mastery in writing?

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More From Forbes

How to improve your writing skills at work.

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By Etelka Lehoczky, Next Avenue Contributor

For many employees, writing at work is nearly as worrisome as public speaking.

Maybe your proposals fall flat or you dread penning quarterly reports. Perhaps you sweat over emails, only to have the recipients demand clarifications. Or writing might just take you too long, making you exhausted once you’ve finally done that last spellcheck.

Gallery: 10 Tips For Better Business Writing

Poor writing skills aren’t just upsetting you; they may be hampering  your career. “You are what you write these days,” says Natalie Canavor,  author of six books including Business Writing Today and Business Writing in the Digital Age .

Fortunately, she says, most older workers already have a crucial skill necessary to crafting good business communications: Empathy. “I find younger people have a lot of trouble learning to look through somebody else’s eyes. Older people have an advantage in that. We’re more apt to learn  there are other viewpoints,” says Canavor.

( More:   4 Ways to Ensure Your Work Skills Are Up-to-Date )

With the interpersonal skills you’ve already honed, it’s perfectly possible to improve your writing in your 50s or 60s. “‘Skilling up’ is for people of any age,” says Nicholas Wyman, author of Job U: How to Find Wealth and Success by Developing the Skills Companies Actually Need . “It’s a matter of learning by doing.”

Confidence and Efficiency

Lack of confidence may cause you to write slowly — thinking and rethinking the simplest emails until you feel safe hitting “Send.” Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to get more comfortable.

First, assess your skills. Use an online program like Grammarly to review your work and identify trouble spots. Available in free and paid versions, Grammarly checks up to 250 elements of grammar in your documents. It will point out punctuation issues, poor sentence structure and contextual spelling errors and even help build your vocabulary.

You can also test your prose with a feature that’s built into Microsoft Word: the readability tool. To access it, go to the File menu, select Options, then Proofing and check the boxes beside “Check grammar with spelling” and “Show readability statistics.”

( More:   10 Skills to Thrive in Today's Job Market )

When you run a spell check, a popup box will show your “Readability statistics,” including your scores on the Flesch Reading Ease scale. The closer you are to 100, the more readable your writing is. For business writing, aim for a score in the 60 to 70 range and a seventh- or eighth-grade level.

Organization and Flow

Confident or not, you may have trouble organizing your ideas when it’s time to write. If you suspect — or have been told — your emails are too long and rambling, get samples of successful emails and compare them to your own. Email Excellence offers sample emails with explanations of why individual sections work.

If long memos and reports give you trouble, Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab has several valuable tutorials. It provides guidelines for memos, a checklist for creating reports and other resources.

Another way to improve your organizational skills, Wyman says, is to begin blogging. “Trying to find your voice is really important,” Wyman says. “[A blog] really helps you hone your style.”

Grammar and Spelling

Better grammar is largely a matter of practice. Keep a reference book on hand such as Jan Venolia’s Write Right! or Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing by Mignon Fogarty. Also, read blogs such as Fogarty’s , Grammarphobia and Daily Writing Tips .

Once you’ve read up, use an app to quiz yourself. Grammar Up’s basic version is free for iOS and Android devices. The Practice English Grammar app for iOS and Android has free basic quizzes and premium exercises.

Apps are also a good bet for improving your spelling. Use one that lets you input business vocabulary, such as My Spelling Test for Android or Spelling Notebook Free for iOS.

The most common spelling slip-ups are homophones (two words with the same pronunciations but different spellings or meanings, such as its and it’s). Use the American Wordspeller And Phonetic Dictionary , for iOS and Android, to find words even when you don’t know how to spell them.

Comprehensive Writing Help

If your writing needs work in every area, consider an online course, local class or one-on-one tutoring.

Syntax Training’s online Writing Tune-Up for Peak Performance covers everything from planning your documents to avoiding passive verbs. The Business Writing Center offers a wide variety of online courses.

Many colleges have business writing classes; search their sites for “non-degree” or “continuing education” courses with titles like “business writing,” “business English” or “workforce English.”

Finally, paid one-on-one sessions with a tutor are surprisingly affordable. Check out the websites of Wyzant and University Tutor.

Follow these tips and soon your emails, reports and presentations will be winning raves — and, more importantly, earning you a raise.

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Let’s be S.A.F.E. out there

Follow these report-writing tips to improve the outcomes of your cases

The PoliceOne Academy features several hours of coursework on police report writing including how to write effective use-of-force incident reports, narrative skills for report writing and keys to time management when writing reports. Complete the courses to improve and retain critical skills to help improve your written documentation of events in the field. Visit the  PoliceOne Academy  to learn more and for an online demo. 

By Steve Pratt

How many of you remember this famous saying: “Let’s be careful out there”? It was a safety call by Sergeant Phil Esterhaus from the television show Hill Street Blues. Today we say to each other “be safe” or “stay safe.” We understand the meaning behind those sayings. I would like to offer another meaning of how we can be “S.A.F.E.” out there.

Often after reading court decisions, I find myself asking questions such as, “How did the situation get that far?” or, “How did the court come to that decision?” Sometimes court findings tell us the officer failed to explain why they did what they did. In some decisions, they say the officer explained “X” or “Y” but we found “Z.” This article will provide a way to approach police report writing that will improve the outcomes of your cases.

Details count

Over the years the courts have given their guidance about what information is valuable for their decision-making. In Graham v. Connor (1989) , the Supreme Court guided us to make reasonable decisions based on an objective consideration of all the facts and circumstances involved in an incident. Information not included in our reports would not be able to be considered by the court.  

Criminal statutes are divided into specific elements of each crime. These elements are fulfilled with “facts” to classify an incident as a specific crime. We are taught in our basic academies to become “trained observers” and what details to observe in various situations. Information about how our training and experience influence our perception of an incident are valuable in establishing reasonable suspicion or probable cause.   

Taking a S.A.F.E. approach

Based on the guidance of the courts, academy training and continuous training, I offer the acronym S.A.F.E., which stands for  Specific Articulable Facts Exhibited, as a method to improve police report writing.

Here is a field example of the S.A.F.E. approach in action:

You were working your beat when you saw a subject exit a known drug house. Your agency served a drug warrant at the same house two days prior to the incident. You recognized the subject, because you had arrested him seven times in the past and were familiar with the subject’s criminal record. Every time you had arrested him, he had drugs in his possession.

The subject was recently highlighted on an officer safety bulletin. The bulletin stated the subject had been in possession of a firearm and was a convicted felon. As the subject walked away from the house, he repeatedly looked over his shoulder. You noticed the front right pocket of his clothing was drooping down and he was conducting a security check (patting the area) with his right hand. You also noticed his right arm wasn’t moving with a natural swing while walking as his left arm moved naturally. His right arm was instead held closely to the side of his drooping clothing.

One month prior to this incident you had attended training about concealed weapons that included physical indicators of persons carrying concealed weapons. The subject demonstrated three of the indicators you had been trained to identify.

In the example above, how many Specific Articulable Facts Exhibited (S.A.F.E.) were there? Were there details that could be valuable for a court in determining the validity of a lawful detention? If the subject fled the detention and reasonable force was used to capture the subject, would the details available help to lay a solid foundation for the necessity of that reasonable force?

What reports usually miss

Too many times we read reports by officers like this:

I observed the subject, John Smith, a known police character. I stopped him because he left a known drug house. I patted him down and located a firearm on his person. The end.

Isn’t something missing in this example? Field supervisors reviewing their officers’ reports after a resistance response or use of force should be asking some basic questions:

  • What did the subject Specifically do?
  • Are those actions Articulated with detail?
  • What were the objective Facts Exhibited during that encounter?

The field supervisor should kick back reports when the answers to those questions are not present. When I have returned reports to my officers, it has been my experience that they have always had the answers to the S.A.F.E. questions. Once they got used to asking themselves the questions while report writing, it was an easy fix!

Changing report-writing habits 

The challenge for officers and supervisors is to see the entirety of the investigation being conducted and to know that the S.A.F.E. details are invaluable for follow-up investigators and the courts, as well as the court of public opinion. S.A.F.E. report writing is a must in our current age of policing.

As leaders, we influence the mindset and habits of our officers. We have the power to create positive change in police culture. Officers asking themselves the S.A.F.E. questions throughout their investigations and report writing will lead agencies to become more successful in the courts. This will reflect positively on the profession as a whole.

Let’s be S.A.F.E. out there!

About the author

Steve Pratt retired as a patrol sergeant with the Springfield (Missouri) Police Department in 2017 after 23½ years of service. Prior to his service in law enforcement, Steve served 9½ years in the United States Marine Corps. Steve has been a law enforcement trainer since 1996 and has an Associate of Science degree from Drury University. Steve is an original member of ILEETA. He has completed the IACP Leadership of Police Organizations course along with numerous other certifications. He is also an FBI LEEDA Trilogy graduate . Steve is currently the assistant academy director of the Drury University Law Enforcement Academy in Springfield, Missouri.

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5 Ways to Improve Book Report Writing Skills

When it comes to writing, some are born with a natural skill and others have to work on it. But one thing is sure; everybody at some point in their life will require these skills. It is especially true for those who are in the academic world.

Within the world of academia, to write is akin to speaking. It’s the systematic way of expressing your ideas and communicating to your professors whether or not you understood a particular concept. One of the fundamental practices of this scenario is book reports.

Book reports give professors and teachers the opportunity to see whether or not a student honestly read a paper or a book, and whether or not they understood it.

Book report writing has a particular structure which we won’t focus on today, but instead, we’ll focus on how to improve your writing as a whole, allowing you to craft more compelling sentences that captivate the mind of the reader.

1 Reading is the first step

To improve your writing skills, you need to expand your vocabulary. To extend your vocabulary, you need to read. Apart from increasing your vocabulary, you also start finding new ways to use words to give it the deeper meaning.

The first thing you’ll need to do is identify the “style of writing” you like the most. Do you like a particular author or niche? Find prominent works within your niche and start reading a lot. The more information you cram into your brain, the more effortless it will be for you to construct complex sentences that lead your readers forward one idea at a time.

I strongly recommend reading at least two books a month and ideally 4. It will provide you with the quickest path to improvement within your writing. Additionally, learn things that are alien to your preferred voice and draw inspiration from all sources.

Reading is a fundamental skill you need to implement to improve not only your thinking but your speaking and writing as well.

2 Experiment with styles

We all have preferences, but it’s okay to break out of the mold. The more you expose yourself to different writing styles, the easier it will be for you to develop your unique voice. I have met many authors in my day that typecast themselves into one narrative style. Eventually, their works become “repetitive” in form, and people become bored of it.

Thus, when you experiment with different styles and force yourself to write differently, you enhance the reader experience by providing uniqueness to your style. We all borrow from other authors, compress it into a singular voice and call it our own. Every prominent writer did this, and there would be no difference for you.

3 Practice everyday

If you’re serious about writing within your career, you’ll want to hone your book report writing skills. The best way to achieve this is by actually writing. It could either be a personal journal or merely a workbook where you push yourself to write in new styles, formats and so forth.

Writing takes time to improve. The more you do it, the easier it becomes, and the faster you can identify redundancies within your lingo. Don’t worry; everybody gets redundant. The point is, most people write too little to detect their excesses and in turn fail to improve their writing skills.

Do yourself a favor and read it after a month has gone by it. You’ll immediately begin to notice how you improve over time. It is especially true if you’ve gone through a year of practicing writing.

I challenge you to write for a year and then to re-read what you wrote a year past. You’ll not only notice more substance within your writing, but you’ll also see many other things that will indicate your progression to being a better writer.

4 Read your work out loud

The reason why they call writing a “voice” is that when someone reads your text, there is a little voice in their heads reading it to them.

Thus, by reading your work out loud, you can tune into ‘how that voice’ would sound to a new reader. It will provide you with insight on the way you use your words, whether an idea sounds complete or not and how the flow of the phrase occurs when heard aloud.

5 Let your work sit for a few days

Finally, a way you can improve your book report writing skills is to let your work simmer for a day or two before you pick it up to read it. It allows your brain to remove the creator’s bias from work and provides you with a clear perspective on the content.

It’s the best to let your work sit for a day or two before starting your editing process.

By increasing your overall writing skills, you’ll be expanding every aspect of your writing activities in general. I hope this mini tutorial found you well and wish you all the best in your writing endeavors.

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