Online Class: Report Writing 101

This course is designed for business professionals who are tasked with writing reports and proposals. The goal of this course is to take the difficulty out of writing these reports and then teach how to write them efficiently and effectively.

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  • 12
  • 26
    Exams &
  • 1,113
    have taken this course
  • 14
    average time
  • 1.4

Course Description

Mastering the Art of Business Reporting: Transcend Traditional Report Writing

In today's fast-paced business world, effective communication is the linchpin of success. Reports, central to this communication framework, hold the power to drive change, shape strategies, and foster informed decisions. But far too often, the intricacies of report writing stymie professionals, turning what should be a powerful tool into a cumbersome obligation.

Enter our comprehensive course: a beacon for professionals navigating the complex seas of business reporting.

Reports—more than just documentation—are strategic narratives. They illuminate issues, elucidate solutions, and empower businesses to seize new opportunities. Whether it's charting expenses, justifying budget increments, shedding light on incidents, or architecting lucrative proposals that woo stakeholders, reports play a pivotal role in bridging understandings, both within and outside an enterprise.

Yet, the formidable challenge remains: How does one craft a compelling report without being a seasoned writer? How do you transition from the daunting emptiness of a blank page to a cohesive, impactful narrative?

Course Highlights

This course, segmented into twelve meticulously designed lessons, deciphers the essence of report writing for the contemporary business professional. Moving beyond conventional teachings, we usher in an era where report writing is not just a task but a valuable skill.

You will unveil:

  • Streamlined strategies to structure and draft reports, eliminating the labyrinth of complexity.
  • Techniques to pinpoint pivotal information, ensuring your reports resonate and command attention.
  • Refined presentation skills that amplify persuasion, paving the way for actionable insights.
  • A blueprint to craft reports that not only convey but convince, aligning with your strategic objectives.

Each lesson unfolds a facet of report crafting, complemented by interactive exercises and assignments. These exercises, mandatory for course completion, are meticulously curated to reinforce learning. Meanwhile, the optional assignments are golden opportunities, allowing for deeper immersion into the course materials.

Section reviews punctuate lessons, presenting multiple-choice questions tied to distinct report segments. These reviews are instrumental in honing your skills, aiding you in mastering the organization and articulation of diverse report sections. Like the exercises, these reviews are essential milestones on your learning journey.

Redefine Your Report Writing Paradigm

This course challenges preconceived notions. If you've been tethered to templates, it's time to liberate yourself. If dread and apprehension have been your companions in report writing, prepare for an empowering paradigm shift. Believe this: you don't need to be a writer to produce impactful reports. Often, breaking free from restrictive templates ignites creativity and clarity.

Join us, as we unravel the magic of report writing. Whether you're a novice grappling with the basics or a professional seeking to elevate your reporting game, this course is your gateway to mastering the art of business reporting. Let us guide you in transforming this "necessary evil" into your most potent business tool.

Course Motivation

Getting Started on Writing Reports

There are three things you need to know up-front before you begin to write any report. Think of these three things as the seasoning that will help give all your reports the flavor that they need. These three things are:

  1. The company image you need to convey
  2. Your image that you need to convey
  3. The message you need to get across

The company's image, as well as your image, will help determine the tone you need to take when writing the report. You'll be able to use the same tone for most reports you write, which means that once you understand what needs to go into the tone of your reports, writing them will become easier.

Ask yourself these three questions to help establish the tone:

  • Why are you writing the report?

  • Who are you writing the report for, and what do you need them to understand?

  • What tone should you use?

With the majority of business reports, your tone should always be:

  • Confident, but not arrogant. For example, don't write, "You must agree that I am the expert on this subject." Instead, write, "My experience with X, Y, and X have provided the insight I needed to conclude that…"

  • Courteous and sincere, not condescending or accusatory. Don't write, "You didn't do this, so that happened." Instead, write "There was an error with this, so that happened."

In addition, you should:

  • Write at the required level of difficulty. For example, if your position within your company requires extensive knowledge of technical terms, but the audience that will read the report will not be familiar with those terms, try instead to use terms they will be familiar with and won't cause confusion when they read the report.

  • Make sure to use non-discriminatory language. This means using gender-neutral job titles (salesperson instead of salesman). Avoid demeaning terms, masculine pronouns, and implying gender if it's not necessary.

  • Stress benefits. For example, avoid saying, "I will look into this matter tomorrow." Instead write, "I will have an answer for you on Friday."

  • Use subordination. "The Human Resources Department has finished reviewing employee time sheets and has concluded that tardiness will no longer be tolerated and will result in disciplinary action." Use subordination in the middle of the report where you are presenting information.

  • Use emphasis. In other words, let your words be firm. "Tardiness will no longer be tolerated," instead of, "We ask all employees to avoid being tardy from this date forward." Emphasis should be used in the beginning paragraph of the report, then at the end of the report.

Defining Your Audience

The most important part of writing a report is getting your message across to your audience. The message contained in the report is what makes the report useful, interesting, and effective for the people that read it. It doesn't matter if you include all necessary information in the report. If that information isn't organized, written properly, and fails to deliver the right message to your audience, your report is useless.

Let's take, for an example, a report about why your department went over budget. You can write a report that includes all the purchases and expenses that sent your department over budget. This is the correct information, so you've included the correct information in the report. If you were writing the report for your boss, who is also in your department, this may suffice, because the message you want to give him is what caused you to go over budget. However, if this is going to another department, such as Accounts Payable, that information alone will not deliver the proper message. Perhaps the message Accounts Payable needs to receive in the report is why you went over budget on purchases or expenses.

That said, to deliver the right message, you must first define your audience.

Once you've gathered the information that will make up the basis for the report, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will your audience want a detailed explanation or brief facts? Using our example, will your audience need to know the purchases or expenses in detail – or the facts about why you needed to go over budget?

  • Will your audience need to know how you arrived at the facts?

  • What does your audience already know?

  • What's the purpose of your report? Does it need to educate your audience? Does it need to persuade your audience? If you're explaining why you went over budget, you may want to educate your audience as to why. On the other hand, if you are requesting permission to go over budget (before you do), you may need to persuade your audience that going over budget is necessary, or in the company's best interest.

  • If additional people may read the report (if you'll send copies or the report will be shared) is there any other information you need to add? You'll still want to focus on your main audience, but you might want to add extra information for them. Just don't get sidetracked from addressing your message to your main audience.

Identifying the Message

Next, once you've defined your audience, you need to decide exactly what it is that you want to tell your audience – or the message you need to deliver. The best way to figure out the message you need to deliver is to decide what information will be most important to your audience. It's quite possible that you will have a lot of information you could share with them in your report, but what you need to figure out is what information your audience needs to have.

What information do you have that directly relates to your audience?

If you're having a hard time figuring that out, you can take a step back and ask yourself what the audience will do with the information in the report – or even why they need the report. To do that, complete the sentences below:

"My audience needs the information in my report to ________."


"My audience needs the information in the report because ___________."

You may complete the sentence like this:

"My audience needs the information in the report because they need to understand why my department went over budget, and why going over budget was necessary."

You also need to keep in mind what your audience will do with the information that you provide in the report. This will also help you decide what information you need to include.

Creating a Main Message

Your main audience can be one person or a group of people. No matter who your main audience is, once you've figured out what information that audience will need in the report, you can start to put your main message together.  

The main message will guide you as you write the report. Once you've figured out the main message, you'll find that all the information just falls into place as you write. Needless to say, it makes things a lot easier.

To figure out your main message, ask yourself this question:

What is it that I want to tell my audience the most?

In other words, out of all the information you need to provide to your audience, what's the single piece of information that either is the lead-in for all other information you need to provide – or is the one piece of information that will ignite interest from your audience.

Using our example again, if the accountant was our main audience, perhaps the information that you would most like to share is that your department went over budget due to increased expenses, but that sales nearly doubled in your department during the same period. If the accounting department creates budgets, the accountant would most like to know that, although you went over budget, you more than compensated by increasing sales.

Once you've figured out your main message, write it down. If at all possible, keep it to one sentence. In addition, write down your main audience, as well. Keep these two pieces of information with you as you begin to write your report. It will help keep you focused and make your report more effective.

  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • Printable Lessons
  • Full HD Video  
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating:
4.7 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
"Extraordinarily Helpful"
(877 votes)

Lesson 1: Introduction to Report Writing

This course was designed for business professionals who are tasked with writing reports and proposals. Additional lesson topics: Business Reports for Busy People: Timesaving, Ready-to-Use Reports for Any Occasion; Report Writing Skills Training Lecture 12 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Reasons for Taking this Course
  • Complete Assignment: Introduction
  • Complete: Assignment 1A - Review the Report Pyramid
  • Assessment: Exam 1

Lesson 2: Perfecting Your Writing Style

You don't have to be a professional-level writer, or an aspiring best-selling author to write effective, high-qualityreports. Additional lesson topics: Grammar/Style 25 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 2
  • Assessment: Exam 2

Lesson 3: Using Correct and Consistent Spelling and Abbreviations

Most publishers, editors, and writers use what's called a book of style to ensure that their spelling and abbreviations are correct and consistent throughout a document. Additional lesson topics: The report writing process 28 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 3
  • Assessment: Exam 3

Lesson 4: Writing the Report

This course's purpose is to give you all the instruction you need to not only write effective reports, but to write them easily. Additional lesson topics: How to Write an Informal Business Report; How to Write an Informal Reports 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 4
  • Assessment: Exam 4

Lesson 5: Informal Reports

In this lesson and the ones that follow, we will provide descriptions of the various types of reports by instructing you on how and when they are used. Additional lesson topics: Online Technical Writing: Progress Reports; Style for Progress Reports; How to Write a Progress Report with illustration 60 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video
  • Complete: Write an Incident Report - Assignment 5
  • Assessment: Exam 5

Lesson 6: Informal Reports, Continued

The informal reports we are going to cover in this lesson are a little different than the ones from the last.They are still informal, and they are still short. However, these types of informal reports can contain attachments. Additional lesson topics: Write it Down: Preparing Progress and Periodic Reports 60 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video
  • Complete: Progress Completion Report - Assignment 6
  • Assessment: Exam 6

Lesson 7: Semi-Formal Reports: Test and Lab Reports

In this lesson, we are going to cover a comprehensive lab report, as well as one created in a classroom setting. Additional lesson topics: Some Tips on Writing Lab Reports; The Parts of a Laboratory Reports; How to Write a Lab Report 109 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video
  • Complete: Write a Test and Lab Report - Assignment 7
  • Assessment: Exam 7

Lesson 8: Semi-Formal Reports: Investigation and Evaluation Reports

Semi-formal reports are more personal in their language, because you address your audience. 60 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video
  • Complete: Investigation and Evaluation Report - Assignment 8
  • Assessment: Exam 8

Lesson 9: Semi-Formal Reports: Suggestions and Proposals

In this lesson, we are covering suggestions and proposals as two different types of reports, which are essentially the same. They are meant to convey an idea, suggestion, or solution. Additional lesson topics: How to Write a Plan or Proposal That Rocks; What Is an Example of an Informal Written Proposal? 59 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video
  • Complete: Suggestion Report Writing - Assignment 9
  • Assessment: Exam 9

Lesson 10: Formal Reports

A formal report is a type of document. It's a bound document with a jacket, and it looks as important as the information inside is to the audience. Additional lesson topics: How to Write a Formal Report; Writing Guidelines: Formal Reports 13 Total Points
  • Lesson 10 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 10
  • Assessment: Exam 10

Lesson 11: Illustrations

The main goal of an illustration is to complement the text. Additional lesson topics: Questions on Building a template to insert photos on a page 15 Total Points
  • Lesson 11 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 11
  • Assessment: Exam 11

Lesson 12: References and Bibliographies

Citing your sources is not just a matter of giving credit where it is due. It is also a way to establish credibility with your audience. 92 Total Points
  • Lesson 12 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Final Course Poll - Your Opinion; Course Comments; Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course)
  • Complete: Assignment 12
  • Assessment: Exam 12
  • Assessment: The Final Exam
Total Course Points

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Describe what report writing actually entails.
  • Describe perfecting your writing style.
  • Summarize using correct and consistent spelling and abbreviations.
  • Demonstrate writing the report.
  • Describe informal reports.
  • Describe semi-formal reports.
  • Describe semi-formal reports.
  • Describe formal reports.
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
  • Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
  • Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
  • Verify Your Certificate with a Unique Serial Number Online
  • View and Share Your Certificate Online or Download/Print as PDF
  • Display Your Certificate on Your Resume and Promote Your Achievements Using Social Media
Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: Report Writing 101
Course Number: 9770568
Lessons Rating: 4.7 / 5 Stars (877 votes)
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Availability: This course is online and available in all 50 states including: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and Washington.
Last Updated: August 2023
Course Type: Self-Paced, Online Class
CEU Value: 1.4 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Instructor: Dana Kristan
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Course Fee: $120.00 U.S. dollars

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