Writing isn’t everyone’s strongest suit but it’s one of those things that we won’t be able to avoid. We need to write, even its just for our social media post. One of the tasks that law enforcement and justice professionals find themselves in is writing reports. These reports need to be specific, descriptive, accurate and easily understandable by its various clients, partners, and audiences.
Natasha Terk joins this Justice Clearinghouse webinar to teach us how to improve our writing skills. Natasha is the Managing Director of Adcom Designs. Through her workshops, webinars, and books, she enables her clients to improve their communication skills.
Through this webinar, Natasha shows us how effective report writing can make a difference to our jobs and our organizations by saving time, improving productivity and results, and boosting credibility.
Natasha discusses in detail the steps, guidelines and important points to consider when writing. Specifics she delves into include:
- An overview explaining the webinar’s goals, agenda and the challenges that most people face with writing.
Planning as the most important phase in writing, where the writer identifies:
- The readers/audience’s needs
- The purpose of the report being written
- The questions that the report must answer
- Guidelines to follow in the four steps of planning.
- Following chronological order as the best way to organize a report.
What happens in the organizing phase that involves:
- Grouping based on themes
- Deleting unnecessary or redundant points and questions
- Writing summary statements, section headings, and subheadings.
Utilizing the formatting phase to make a more valuable report through:
- Short sentences and paragraphs
- Effective use of lists, charts, and visuals
- Drafting an introduction and summary
- Guidelines and examples on how to employ these formatting steps.
- Communicating through clear and concise language that stresses the importance of keeping things simple, specific, non-repetitive, and preferably using the active voice.
- Proofing and editing techniques that we often miss like misused words and misplaced apostrophes.
- The components of a complete sentence and uidelines on punctuation use for commas, colons, and semi colons.
- The poll question provided the audience's perception of the writer upon reading a report laden with language and grammar errors.
Natasha answered audience questions related to:
- The challenge of writing a report for multiple audiences
- Using legal terms in non-legal correspondence
- Using contractions in professional reports
- Clarifications in punctuation use
- Recommended typefaces for organizational communications
- The significance of an organizational style or branding guide
- The use of first person versus third person perspective in report writing