How to make your report flow

ReportHave you ever read a report that made you feel that you were losing the thread of the argument? Or that you were stuck in the middle of a seemingly random collection of paragraphs?

Writers can easily solve this problem by using appropriate transitions, or link words and phrases, such as firstly, secondly, on the other hand, meanwhile, bearing this in mind, however, finally and in conclusion.

Firstly, transitions show the logical connection between paragraphs and sentences. They guide the reader through the report and give a sense of ‘flow’ – of moving from one stage of the argument to the next.

Secondly, you can use them to break down longer paragraphs. If you have a paragraph over seven lines, try breaking it down into separate, shorter paragraphs, each starting with an appropriate transition. This helps the skimming reader navigate the logic of the report at a glance.

However, don’t go mad. Don’t start every sentence with a transition – develop each stage with another sentence or more so that the reader has time to take in your point.

Finally, you can add transitions at the editing stage. You may decide to reorder your paragraphs to make a more logical structure to your argument. This makes the drafting process easier – you can get on and write your report quickly, and fix the logical flow later .

In conclusion, use appropriate transitions to help your report flow, and guide your reader through your argument. They will be impressed with the apparent clarity of your thinking – whether or not they agree with your conclusions.

Good luck!

Jakki

PS Do you or your organisation need help with report writing skills? Click here for details of my business writing courses and one-to-one coaching.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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