People in the business world – either participants or active creators of scenarios that may affect millions – depend to a large extent on business reporting to do their jobs. Reading and writing reports is considered a key competence in the field and, needless to say, in this globalized world most are in English. The prestigious Wall Street Journal forecast back in the 80’s that over 75 percent of jobs created between 1982 and 2010 would need report writing skills – and they were right. However, the belief that only advanced users of the language can accomplish both tasks with an acceptable degree of success keeps many candidates with a lower level of English stranded along the way.

What are the skills adults already bring to the process of report writing in a second language? For a start, they already know the overall business content in question, how communication works and key terms in their field. Moreover, they are logical and usually pressed for time, which entails that if the task is relevant and purposeful, they will focus on it more readily, ripping benefits in the short run.

Any course that attempts to assist business people in this sense should be hands-on and get them to work not only on general materials but also on their own, both individually and collaboratively.

One of the first points to work on is business report structure, which typically includes a problem or description of the current situation, findings and conclusions with recommendations. More comprehensive reports will include an executive summary as well at the beginning.

Supporting elements like graphs, tables and diagrams are usually included, plus “cold facts” or factual information to help readers visualize the situation. Headings and sub-heading draw attention to major points or new sections.  The focus is always on making it simple.

Other crucial points to consider are: working on paragraph structure, handling common structures and patterns, becoming familiar with key vocabulary and developing accuracy and a simple straightforward style. All of these, in coming articles, so stay tuned.

Cecilia Sassone is a teacher, teacher trainer, licentiate in English and expert in learning technologies. She has over 25 years’ experience coordinating, designing and delivering business and ESP courses in local and multinational companies. She has also devoted the last two decades to her research on adult language learning giving birth to her Spiderweb Method®, which has earned her the 2015 Innovation and Achievement Award granted by the Academic Committee of Share Education, Argentina.

by Cecilia Sassone

 

Report Writing-Article