How to write and report in business

During July 2016 The Mindspa Institute, a soft skills training company, presented the Business & Report Writing course at their training centre in Johannesburg. The delegates were mainly from the PG Building Glass Finance department.

But why is business writing and reporting so important?

The reason is simple. In any relationship, good communication is paramount. Business relationships need good communication so that a sound understanding of what is being communicated can be reached by both parties. Business writing and reporting also portrays your image to the outside world and is thus integral to building your company’s brand. In the business world, there is a certain writing etiquette that should be followed. Failure to do so can lead to misinterpretation or portraying an unprofessional image.

Furthermore, it can have the result of the writer being disrespected by peers or of being undermined by subordinates. It is important to avoid sketching the picture of the stereotype that the author is ‘uneducated’ by ensuring that the communication is of a high standard. Managers should use good business and report writing skills to convey their business ideas accurately and effectively to their readers.

A core focus of the Mindspa’s course is getting back to the basic skills that include planning, layout and writing a business report. They teach attendees how to correct language and grammar, and point out classic language mistakes that are often made.

PG Glass and PG Building Glass believes in developing their employees and recognises the importance of the role that business writing plays. “We believe that one should never stop learning and that is why we train and develop our employees”, comments Moydene Naude, Training Co-ordinator: PG Glass. The ultimate goal is for their staff to grow, and to live bigger and better lives. Through their continuous training and development they provide their employees with the skills to do so, not only in their respective positions, but in a personal capacity as well. Ms Naude goes on to explain that they run programmes such as: Generic Management, Business Administration and Skills Programmes, as well as short courses and Work Integrated Learning for unemployed youth. Their main objective with this training is to strive for excellence in the way they communicate internally and externally with stakeholders. They are committed to making sure that they portray their values properly and professionally. It was for this reason that they chose to expose their staff to the soft skills course offered by The Mindspa.

When you read the title: “Business writing and reporting”, you may immediately think that you should know everything about the business’s jargon and that you need to have an extensive vocabulary. You couldn’t be further from the truth! This course actually teaches you that using plain English is important so that anyone reading your report can understand it. The course encourages you to plan before any writing starts, and importantly to make a decision regarding the objectives, the audience and the information that you wish to focus on. During the course the facilitator focuses on exposing delegates to the importance of layouts of various reports and how to plan them. The facilitator also concentrates on structuring the report so that it contains all the necessary information, including the applicable visual aids.

The emphasis is not on fancy jargon and extensive vocabulary but rather on the skill of using plain English. After all simplicity is an art and is regarded as the the ultimate show of sophistication. Even Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it to a 6 year old, you don’t understand it yourself!”. It not only improves readability but also aids the reader’s comprehension by using the simplest words and expressions possible. It is important to look at sentence and paragraph lengths, how to note bullet points, and organising numbering. Delegates are taught to avoid using jargon and explain ideas clearly and concisely. This course also contains interesting, useful tools to cure writer’s block and ends off with a self-assessment exercise.

The PG Group has also used The Mindspa previously in 2016 to present the course “HR for non-HR managers”. The feedback received from the attendees was very positive for both courses. “Everyone enjoyed the course”, Moydene comments.

Proper business writing and reporting speaks volumes about you within the workplace. It is also a representation of the company’s corporate identity. Who knew that this small skill could have such a huge impact on image and perceptions? The Mindspa’s soft skills training courses are specifically designed to complement South African reality and also to develop employees. The skills learnt will assist you in taking your business to new heights.

*The Mindspa Institute offers soft skills training to companies of all sizes and in every sector of industry. Their courses are tailor made to fit the needs of the company and are in line with the South African Business world. For more information on their courses visit www.themindspa.co.za



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