The course: Report and Business Writing
This course was very helpful to me as it introduced me to formal business documents I had never written before. Having the skills to write a formal proposal or report will be useful to me as I grow my career. In my current position, I have not been required to produce any formal reports, but I do often have to make informal reports or propose new ideas. Being able to incorporate elements of formal documents into the writing I do enhances my credibility and allows my supervisors and colleagues to take my work seriously.
The assignment required us to identify a problem in our workplace and propose a solution. The problem I chose was the high number of incorrectly completed travel claims, which I proposed could be solved by hosting a Lunch and Learn lecture.
I chose the direct approach for this proposal because I felt it was uncontroversial and therefore would be received positively by management. I included my suggested solution first before diving into the justifications. The advantage of this formula is that it allows readers to get a high level understanding of the proposal early on. Readers in the executive positions that can implement proposed solutions are often limited in the time they can devote to reading a proposal or report. Presenting a suggestion early in the proposal can get the reader’s attention and provide motivation for them to continuing reading the document.
To enhance my proposal, I included several visual elements. I used a flow chart to demonstrate the administrative process involved in filing travel claims. I think it can be helpful to include graphics to explain ideas, particularly the steps in a process. I also included several tables. Tables are great for showing time and budget requirements because they allow the data to be presented in a clean, readable way. With the white space and lack of unnecessary words, the data is more apparent.
During revisions, I focused on small changes as I felt my original draft was quite solid. I was able to improve concision and readability by removing extra words and making my sentences more active.I also expanded my explanation of the travel claim process in the background section to clarify the administrative consequences.
Returning to the proposal after leaving the job it was written for allowed me to look at the assignment with a new lens. I was able to identify areas where I had not included enough information for outsiders to understand the proposal because I had assumed the readers had a certain level of knowledge. I used the perspective of someone no longer working in that department to expand and clarify points I had not addressed fully.