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Human Resources & Organisational Development

Report Writing


Writing business reports is one of the most demanding tasks that we undertake at work. It is both a complicated technical skill and a subtle creative activity. The problem is that few of us have learned the essentials of this kind of writing. Reports are not the same as essays or dissertations; they are different kinds of documents and must be written differently. This one-day workshop sets out a step-by-step process for communicating clear messages to the people who need to read them.

This workshop is designed for Durham University staff who wish to boost their writing confidence and make sure that their reports get noticed and actioned.


By the end of the workshop you will be able to:

  • Recognise aspects of good writing style and learn from the good and bad practices of others
  • Identify the consequences of sending out poor quality writing to clients and colleagues
  • Plan and structure reports for specific purposes
  • Write for readability and avoid common grammatical errors
  • Produce a report which meets agreed quality criteria
  • Use proof reading and review techniques to spot errors and inconsistencies in written material


  • Creating your message
  • Planning and structuring a document
  • Writing a first draft
  • Re-writing and revising
  • Writing for readability
  • Avoiding grammar ‘howlers’
  • Practical session
  • Writing that means business


  • A opportunity to identify ‘good’ and ‘bad’ characteristics of business writing
  • An understanding of the process for producing reader-friendly material
  • An insight into the main features of plain English – and how to model these
  • Tips on the main grammar pitfalls to look out for, and how to avoid them
  • Increased confidence in your own ability to apply guidelines for a professional writing style.


This is a highly interactive programme delivered through discussion, group/individual exercises and case studies. It focuses on giving the very best tips and techniques for writing truly outstanding reports. It is supported by a handout pack which summarises all the main points to bear in mind when planning, writing and reviewing any kind of report.

Participants should bring an idea for a simple report to work on during the session. This could be anything at all, for example: an update on a project, making recommendations for solving a problem, suggestions for improving a system or procedure, a conference report and so on.

They may also bring a sample of their own writing so that the tutor can provide individual feedback and ideas for improvement.

Who is this course suitable for?

Durham University staff who regularly write reports

Which of the ‘Realising Your Potential Approach’ Behaviours are supported by this course

This workshop will generally help indirectly with most of the Realising Your Potential Behaviours but specifically connects to:

Developing myself and others

  • By effectively demonstrating new/improved knowledge and skills
  • By demonstrating the value of learning by being involved in development activities.

Achieving results

  • By planning and prioritising own work to achieve agreed objectives
  • By maintaining a high standard of work even when under pressure
  • By Working effectively in order to meet deadlines

Providing leadership and direction

  • By demonstrating a positive attitude about what needs to be done
  • By taking personal responsibility to achieve tasks and/or objectives

Working together

  • By communicating effectively with all

Providing excellent student services and professional support:

  • By tailoring communication to meet students’, customers’ and stakeholders’ needs
  • By consistently giving positive messages about the University


Full Day Seminar – Lunch Provided