Reports and Meeting Documents

  • Heading: Include the title, the recipients, and the date of the meeting. For example:
    22 OCTOBER 2007
  • Purpose of document: include a very short statement of the purpose of the report at the start. For example:
    This report summarises some key principles which should be applied by all staff in order to ensure good internal communications.
  • Action required: If the report requires any action, this should be stated clearly at the start of the document, together with the timescale and any relevant contact details if a response is needed.
  • Main headlines: If the report is long and detailed, it helps if the key points can be identified at the start, either in the form of an executive summary or as a set of bullet points.
  • Author and date: always make it clear (perhaps as a footer on each page) who wrote the report, and the date of writing.
  • Page Numbers should be included for ease of reference.
  • Details: If there is a lot of detailed information, data or supporting evidence, include this as an appendix, rather than embedding in the main report.
  • Use of colour: colour can be helpful to illustrate key information, but remember that its effect is lost when documents are photocopied, so avoid reliance on colour to differentiate between key issues. Colour documents are also more expensive to print out.
  • Summary and recommendations: Conclusions and recommendations should be clearly stated and easily identifiable. It can help to show them in bold, or in a box, for ease of location, especially if they occur throughout a report.
  • Style and tone: Aim for short, straightforward and clear reports, using plain, correct English (with good grammar, punctuation and spelling).
  • Further information: information about proof-reading, house style, and other 'how to...' guides, are available from the Marketing website.