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Considering the Audience in Formal Reports

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  • 0:03 Formal Reports
  • 0:45 Identifying the Audience
  • 1:34 Assessing Audience Needs
  • 2:57 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Darlisha Oliver
When drafting a formal report, it is important to think about the audience and the purpose of the report. In this lesson, we'll explore strategies you can use to identify the audience and assess their needs.

Formal Reports

Have you ever read a formal report and thought what in the world did I just read - and why? Formal reports are designed to provide information and make recommendations. Business organizations of all sizes rely on formal reports to make informed business decisions. Writing formal reports can be a bit daunting, especially when there's a lot of information to gather, organize, and communicate.

The key to productive, effective reports is to consider the audience, or the people who will be using the information you are communicating. To achieve this task, you should identify the audience and assess the audience's needs. Let's take a closer look at these two tasks and examine how they can help you write an effective report.

Identifying the Audience

The first step involves asking a couple of essential questions:

  • Who are you writing for?
  • Who will be using this information?

Identifying the audience will provide insight on how the report should be formatted. It will also tell you the key pieces of information that should be included in the report. For example, imagine that you are writing a formal report for B & B Restaurant Company. If your audience is the director of information technology, you shouldn't fill your report with basic information about event planning. That information is best suited for the director of event planning! And if you were writing a report for the director of event planning, you wouldn't need to include detailed information about the restaurant's IT security. On the other hand, the accounting manager, president, and potential investors might need to know all of this information to make the most informed decisions.

Assessing Audience Needs

The next question you need to ask yourself is what will the audience be using the report for? Identifying and assessing the needs of the audience will allow you to focus on making sure those specific needs are addressed in the report. It will also help you understand how much information should be shared, as well as the forum in which the information will be shared. This is important in determining the depth of required information and the need to protect sensitive data.

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