Short Reports

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About Writing Informal Short Reports

Short reports are usually informal reports. Generally, these reports serve current needs and tend to have a limited readership. They tend to be between one and five single-spaced pages (ten double-spaced). They also tend to express a first person point of view. They use a personal style — we and you and a familiar vocabulary that conveys informality. They are often formatted for internal and external use.

Memo-Reports

Most informal reports follow the memo or letter format and are referred to as memo-reports and letter-reports. Use the memo-report format when writing internal or external communications about routine operations and familiar subject matter. Use it to inform colleagues about recent experiences — field trips, meetings, and seminars, and to report on achievements.

Write a memo-report when you want to file a record of a decision, a transaction, a meeting, or a proposal. Any subject that needs documentation can be developed as a memo-report: new procedures and policies, background information for sales staff, new marketing strategies, and so on.

Since the subject matter is either routine or familiar or your readers, the one-line reference in the memo heading serves as the introduction.

Arrange points for impact

The standard of the memo-report are shown below in a conventional arrangement.

• Memo heading: To, From, Date, Subject.

• Source of the assignment: identification of the department head or superior who suggested or authorized the report (normally the person to whom you address your memo-report).

• Statement of the problem: a discussion of the background or status of the subject, a summary of the consequences of not taking action, and a reference to the scope and purpose of the report.

• Main points: introduced by headings.

• Summary and conclusions.

Letter-Reports

Any informal report can be developed in the letter-report format: a report on...
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