Workshop Outline

Writing Effective Reports

Session 1 (9.00am–9.30am): Opening session

  • Why do reports matter?
  • Icebreaker activity

Session 2 (9.30am–10.15am): What makes a good report?

  • Discuss and define a good report
  • What do you need to know before starting the report?
  • Identifying the purpose, readers and desired outcomes of the report

Session 3 (10.30am–11.30am): Getting started and deciding on content

  • Methods for planning the content
  • Developing a logical structure and outline for the report
  • Using your company’s Report Template

Session 4 (11.30am–12.30pm): Making reports readable

  • Visual elements and white space
  • Sentences, paragraphs and transitions
  • Staying focussed, being direct and succinct
  • Writing simple, clear professional English
  • Using appropriate tone and voice

Session 5 (1.15pm–2.00pm): Project-managing the report

  • Managing stakeholders and co-authors
  • Identifying and managing potential risks (language, legal, intellectual property, ethics, reputation)
  • Where to go for advice

Session 6 (2.00pm–3.00pm): The Executive Summary

  • What is an executive summary?
  • The impact of language on purpose and outcomes
  • Plan and write your executive summary

Session 7 (3.15pm–4.00pm): Honing the Executive Summary

  • Review and edit other summaries
  • Feedback and debrief on own summary

Session 8 (4.00pm–4.30pm): Review of learnings and strategies for continuing improvement

  • Action planning

General Information
The workshop will be interactive and will include a mix of lectures, facilitated discussion, exercises and video clips of CSIRO leaders offering their insights and advice on all aspects of reports in CSIRO. Participants will be expected to bring with them a report, which they will work on during the exercises. This will ensure relevant practice in the topics presented and provide an opportunity for immediate feedback from the facilitator and co-participants. Exercises will focus on understanding the needs of readers and users, the purpose of the report, and how to create a compelling message in plain English that achieves the desired outcomes for you and the client.

Participants will be provided with a course manual containing the presentations, key points in preparing a successful report and a list of additional resources.