Short report Also known as “informal” or “semiformal” report. A short report is an organized presentation of relevant info/data on any topic.
TECHNICAL WRITING November 14 th, 2012 Today Short Reports: Proposals (Internal Proposals). Short report Also known as informal or semiformal report. A short report is an organized presentation of relevant info/data on any topic. Types of Short Reports The six most common types of short reports are: 1. Periodic reports. Provide readers with information at regularly scheduled intervals. 2. Sales reports. Provide businesses with financial and managerial information. 3. Progress reports. Inform readers about the status of ongoing projects. 4. Travel reports. Document business trips and how they affect ongoing or future business. 5. Incident reports. Outline unexpected events that interfere or threaten normal, safe business operations. 6. Proposals. Details a plan of action that is submitted to a reader for approval. Guidelines to writing short reports (simplified) 1. Anticipate how the audience will use your report. Consider how much your audience knows about your project and what types of information they most need. Guidelines to writing short reports (simplified) 2. Do the necessary research. Take careful notes, record all necessary background information, collect relevant factual data, and interview key individuals. Guidelines to writing short reports (simplified) 3. Be objective and ethical. Avoid guesswork, do not substitute impressions or unsupported personal opinions for careful research, avoid biased/skewed/incomplete data, and double check all facts/figures/specifications. Guidelines to writing short reports (simplified) 4. Organize carefully. Include a purpose statement, findings, a conclusion, and recommendations. Guidelines to writing short reports (simplified) 5. Use reader-centered headings, bullets, numbering, and visuals. Help readers locate and focus on key information in your report. Guidelines to writing short reports (simplified) 6. Write clearly and concisely. Use an informative title/subject that gets to the point right away Write in plain English Use a professional yet personal tone Do not include unnecessary background information. Guidelines to writing short reports (simplified) 7. Use appropriate format and visuals. Make your report look professional, readable, and easy to follow; help readers locate and digest information quickly; be consistent in your design and format; include only the most essential visuals; and design, import, and place visuals appropriately. Proposals A proposal is a detailed plan of action that is submitted to a reader (or group of readers) for approval. These readers are usually in a position of authority (supervisors, managers, etc.). They are able to endorse or reject the proposal. Proposals The purpose of the proposal: Convince the readers that your plan will be beneficial: i.e., - Improve business. - Save money. - Enhance a companys image. - Improve customer satisfaction. - Improve working conditions. Your plan may do one of these, or a combination. Proposals As you can guess, proposals are written for many purposes and many different audiences. i.e., An internal proposal to your boss seeking authorization to hire staff or purchase new equipment. A sales proposal to potential customers, offering a product or service. Proposals Proposals can vary greatly in size and scope. - A formal proposal can be very long (100+pages) and complex. - An internal proposal to your employer, though, can be accomplished in a 2 or 3 page memo (sometimes shorter). i.e., A proposal for a new business district development project vs. redecorating the waiting room at a doctors office. Proposals are Persuasive Plans To succeed, proposals must be highly persuasive. Enthusiasm is not enough. We really, really, really wanna hire a new assistant for the IB department. It will make work much easier! - Is not persuasive. Hard evidence is required to be persuasive. Proposals are Persuasive Plans We really, really, really wanna hire a new assistant for the IB department. It will make work much easier! - Hard evidence is required to be persuasive. Examples? -Currently only one IB assistant. - Assistant is overworked (works 10 hours overtime/week). - Not able to assist all faculty members. - Work moves slowly (currently can take more than 1 day to get assistance). - Hiring an additional assistant will increase efficiency of assistance. - Will save time and increase job satisfaction for both administrative staff and faculty members. Proposals are Persuasive Plans Proposals must convince readers that the plan is: - Relevant. - Practical. - Based upon careful research. - Designed to help the reader and his/her organization. Proposals are Persuasive Plans Proposals require a can do attitude. The tone should be: Here is what I can do for you. This is how my plan will help you. Guidelines for Successful Proposals 1. Approach a proposal as a problem-solving activity. Your purpose should reflect your ability to identify and solve problems. Convince the audience you know what their needs are and that you will meet them professionally, safely, and promptly. Guidelines for Successful Proposals 2. Regard your audience as skeptical. Even if you KNOW your proposal will benefit the readers, dont be over confident. Brainstorm to anticipate readers questions and objections. Remember : Your readers will study your proposal carefully. i.e., A proposal to hire a new IB assistant. Guidelines for Successful Proposals 3. *Research your proposal topic thoroughly* Successful proposals are not based on a few general suggestions. - Hiring a new IB assistant would be great. It will save time and the current assistant wont be lonely. Come on. Hire a new assistant! Guidelines for Successful Proposals 3. *Research your proposal topic thoroughly* You have to know and provide detailed information to be convincing. Research the topic: - study the latest technology in the field. - shop for the best prices. - compare prices and services with competitors. - visit customers. - interview key people. Guidelines for Successful Proposals 4. Scout out what your competitors are doing. Become familiar with competitors products or services. Be able to show that your companys work is better overall. Provide examples or offer a demonstration: - Yonseis IB department has several assistants and their department runs much more efficiently (takes only 1 hour to receive assistance and has 40% higher work satisfaction. Guidelines for Successful Proposals 5. Prove your proposal is doable. What you propose should be consistent with the organization and capabilities of the company. i.e., Telling a small college like KAC to hire 25 new assistants would be ridiculous. Avoid the phrases like this: - Lets see what happens. - Hopefully this will work. - This plan might help. Guidelines for Successful Proposals 6. Be sure your proposal is financially realistic The biggest question asked of your proposal will be: Is it worth the money? Prepare a cost estimate based on research (market conditions, competitors prices, your readers budget. i.e. Recommending that your company spend $30,000 to solve a $3,000 problem is a poor idea. Guidelines for Successful Proposals 6. Be sure your proposal is financially realistic The biggest question asked of your proposal will be: Is it worth the money? Above all, convince the readers that the benefits are worth the cost. i.e., Hiring a new IB assistant. Guidelines for Successful Proposals 7. Package your proposal attractively. Make sure it is well presented, professional looking, attractive, and easy to read. Make sure any visuals are clear and appropriately placed. The visual appearance of your proposal can influence whether it gets accepted. Internal Proposals Purpose: Offer a realistic and constructive plan to help your organization run its business more efficiently (and economically). Internal Proposals Generally, internal proposals are written as a 1 3 page memo. Internal Proposals Common Topics - Purchasing new or more advanced equipment to replace current equipment. - Recruiting new employees or retraining current ones. - Eliminating a dangerous condition or reducing an environmental risk to prevent accidents. - Cutting costs. - Improving something (services, communications, efficiency). Organizing Internal Proposals Look at the sample proposal. What do you notice about its organization? What sections do you see? Organizing Internal Proposals Main Sections : The Purpose The Problem The Solution or Plan The Conclusion Memo format Clear subject Clearly states why proposal is being sent Takes into account organizations mission Identifies problem by giving reader essential background information based on research Provides easy-to-read table Divides problem into parts- volume, financial, personnel, customer service Emphasizes the cost if nothing is done Cites important research Verifies that the problem is widespread Relates solution to individual parts of the problem Bullet points make recommendations easy to read and follow Shows problem can be solved and stresses how Photo shows location has room for additional ATM Documents that work can be done on time and highlights advantage of doing it now Itemizes costs Interprets cost for reader Prove change is cost-effective, citing specific financial evidence Ends by stressing benefits for reader and bank as a whole Finishes by thanking reader The Purpose Begin purpose with a brief statement of why you are writing to you supervisor: I propose that - State immediately why you think a specific change is necessary now. - Then, define the problem and emphasize that your plan (if approved) will solve that problem. The Problem Prove that a problem exists. Document its importance for your boss and organization. - The more you show (with evidence) how the problem affects the bosss work, the more persuasive you will be. The Problem Avoid vague generalizations: Were losing money each day with this piece of equipment. Costs continue to increase. Numerous complaints have come in. I