Molly Thompson reports:
"Your boss is out of the office for an extended period and has asked you to prepare a report on a recently concluded personnel study, or maybe you are responsible for preparing a monthly report for your supervisor on your department's productivity. Regardless of the scenario, by doing your homework, understanding what your supervisor is looking for in a report and completing it accurately and on schedule, you can produce a report your supervisor will appreciate as informative and useful...Establish with your supervisor his preferred format for your reports...Also, ask how he wants the report conveyed -- electronically or in hard copy -- and how often he expects you to prepare a report...Use the format your boss has requested to present key information related to the subject. A recurring report, such as weekly sales figures or monthly project status, can be presented in a simple memo format with changes from previous reports highlighted. Reports on one-time events...likely require information that is more detailed...At the top of your report put the date, report title, the name of the person for whom the report is prepared and your name as the report writer. If your report is in memo format, use the report title as the subject line. The title should be specific enough to be immediately clear -- 'Trip Report for Santa Fe Conference' or 'October Production Figures for Widget Department,' for example...Create section headers for each key element of the report. The introductory section should introduce the topic and summarize key points. A background section might describe why a marketing study was commissioned or what production problems prompted a workflow evaluation. The body should include the main points of your report...Conclude your report with a summary and include recommendations for action if warranted. For a trip report describing participation in a recent conference, the recommendation might be that it was of little value and the company should no longer send employees. A report describing a recent study should end with recommendations based on the study results...If you are requesting his action on something, state that clearly so your supervisor isn't left guessing...Double-check the report before sending it to your boss. Make sure there are no spelling or grammar errors, that it contains accurate figures and dates and that it is neat and in the correct format. Sign or initial the report. Make a copy for your files."
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