Short Reports: How to Write Routine Professional Documents

New graphic. First step in touching up my collection of pages on writing short technical reports.

A business memo, a lab report, or a professional e-mail are all variations on the basic report structure described in this document.  Feel free to modify these guidelines in order to meet your reader’s needs.

  1. Think of Your Reader First
    Your busy reader has a problem, and has turned to your report for help. What, exactly, does your reader want? Deliver it as efficiently as possible.
  2. Begin with Your Conclusions
    A technical document is not a mystery novel. Don’t save your best points for the end, because most readers are too impatient to wait.
  3. Organize with Appropriate Headings
    For any document longer than a page or two, break the content into sections (like introduction, background, discussion, and conclusion).