Tips on how to write an introduction for a report
A business report is always created to solve a problem. This could be something simple, such as finding a better way to organise the ordering of office stationery or a more complex problem, such as implementing a new multi-million pound computer system. And an important part of any report is the introduction. It is often the most read section and must inform the reader that the report contains something worth reading. This makes a great introduction essential, so follow the tips below to ensure you hit the mark every time!
Tip One – write it last – don’t write your introduction until you’ve completed your report. The introduction is a summary of what is contained in the report and you cannot summarise what is in the report until you have finished it.
Tip Two – keep it short – your introduction should be only a few lines long. It is a brief paragraph designed to tell the reader what the report covers. It should allow the reader to quickly decide if the report is something that they wish to continue reading or not.
Tip Three – include all the relevant information – the introduction should answer the following questions:
- Why has the report been written? If you cannot answer this question then it’s likely that the report isn’t needed. However, this is highly unlikely to happen as most reports are commissioned to
address a particular problem. Detail the problem and state why it’s significant to the business.
- Who commissioned the report? State who requested that the report be written in the first place – was it an individual, department, organisation or someone else.
- What is covered in the report? Detail the scope of the report and, if need be, say what is not covered too.
- How was the report carried out? Give details of what methods of assessment were used to investigate the problem.
Tip Four – don’t include jargon or abbreviations in your introduction – this is one of those rules that can be applied or disregarded depending on the intended readership. If the readers are familiar with technical jargon, then it’s fine to use it. For example, if you are writing the report for colleagues on a board of experienced engineers at a chemical engineering plant, you can be pretty certain that they will familiar with all the technical terms used. However, if there’s any chance that there are people reading the report who may not understand the jargon or abbreviations, don’t use them until you have had the chance to explain what they mean.
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