Information is crucial to a company’s success. When it is masterfully disseminated across all levels of the business and communicated to decision-makers effectively, it can guarantee countless opportunities for the industry to thrive and highlight potential risks to avoid as early as possible. In fact, information has become the cornerstone of success. Business communication and collaboration software, such as Slack, Monday, and Microsoft Teams, to name a few, have continued to snowball in this new normal where everybody is working remotely.
However, many business startups and small and medium enterprises that have yet to experience success fail to realize the significance of handling and communicating business information well, putting much of the data at the scrutiny of noise and misunderstanding. To help alleviate this alarming issue and raise awareness on the importance of communicating well-thought business messages, we’ll be going over the three-step writing process and how it can improve analytical reports.
What Is the Three-Step Writing Process?
As the name suggests, the three-step writing process is a writing technique that improves the brevity, depth, and effectiveness of a written work to convey a thought, idea, or message. These three steps are planning, drafting, and completing. This approach is simple yet largely misplaced by many businesses, from their memorandums to their infomercials. In analytical reports, the three-step writing process can increase the effectiveness of assessing opportunities, solving problems, and supporting decisions through conciseness and understandability.
#1 Planning the Report
Planning always sets the stage and foundation for the whole process, and the same success principle applies to writing effective analytical reports for a business. One must always begin by consolidating all the reliable and relevant pieces of information, understanding the nuances, and outlining the approach before committing to a decision. Careful and strategic planning will make the analytical report develop more smoothly.
- Gather and Organize Relevant Information: For any business report, you need to gather and organize all the relevant information to support your case. Remember, the relevance of information is only as good as its timeliness and reliability, so always keep these criteria in mind. For example, if you were to create an analytical report supporting the decision for increased cybersecurity, an excellent article to cite would be Facebook’s recent leakage of sensitive user data.
- Appropriate the Message for the Audience: Another common issue experienced by many businesses, small and big companies alike, is the lack of appropriating the message to suit the audience. In many cases, analytical reports often use too many technical terms. While businesses expect that users of the information will have a level of understanding of these terms, too much technicality diminishes the understandability of the message. Therefore, always take into account the audience profile and appropriate the message to their understanding. Relevant, timely, and reliable information will still be for naught if it is misunderstood.
#2 Drafting the Report
After planning the report, you can immediately proceed with drafting the report to get a rough idea of how it will look and whether its readability matches up with the information it’s trying to communicate. As a good rule of thumb, we always recommend comprehensiveness and conciseness in any business message. You want to cover all points but not come off as wordy and all over the place. It also helps if the report content summarizes all the main points and highlights the necessary action items.
- Data Visualization: Data visualization through infographics and line charts is an excellent way to make comprehensive information much more understandable and less cluttered in an analytical report. For example, if you were to assess the opportunity of hiring an eCommerce SEO agency to increase web traffic and conversion rates, comparative bar charts that show the success rate behind these services can help streamline the decision-making process.
#3 Completing the Report
For the final step, you want to go over the entire analytical report once more before you can consider it finished and complete. Reviewing the report content can help identify trouble areas and highlight pieces of information that might be subject to a misunderstanding once presented. For example, you may have overlooked supplementary elements, such as the appendices and bibliography, which may hurt the credibility of the analytical report. Plus, reviewing the report will give you ample time to revise and improve the report altogether.
Information and Understanding Need Each Other
Overall, information and understanding need each other, and information about the business is only good if the users of the information understand it. To ensure success, companies must improve their business messages, such as analytical reports, with the help of the three-step writing process. In time, the benefits of adhering to these guidelines will return tenfold.