So how can you make your report more interesting to read while at the same time meeting your legal requirements?
1. Avoid vague statements. Show don’t tell by backing up your statements with facts and case studies. Don’t just say, ‘We streamlined our processes’ (telling). Instead, say, ‘We introduced a new, numbered ticketing system in all public waiting areas’ (showing).
2. Write about impacts. To give your report a longer life, write about the impacts and benefits of your achievements to your clients, customers, the community, the environment or whatever. For example, ‘Our new ticketing system reduced waiting times by an average of 10 minutes per customer’.
3. Avoid buzz words and clichés. Phrases like ‘moving forward we will be rolling out key strategies that commenced in the year reported’ will make your reader shrivel up in boredom.
4. Be rigorous about time periods. Even though you’re writing the report in the present, remember that you’re reporting on something that happened in the past; so use past tense. Remember to confine your statements to the time period for which you are reporting otherwise you’ll confuse your reader.
5. Be open and honest. While it’s good to bask in your successes, avoid making exaggerated and untruthful claims. If you haven’t met some of your targets, be honest about it but phrase this positively to show partial success and lessons learned.
It’s worth making the effort to get the words right. Add rigorous checking for errors and creative graphic design to the mix and you’ll have a stunning record of your year’s achievements.
To find out how we can help you produce an annual report you can be truly proud of, call us on 02 9238 6638.