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How to Produce Compelling Reports and Presentations

Your team has concluded its work. It is time to submit its conclusions to the group’s sponsor or senior management. As you prepare the document, you may want to think of it as a promotional piece rather than a white paper. Depending on the team’s purpose, the report might take one of three formats:

1. Informational reports on a study conducted by a team should begin with a summary sentence or paragraph on the group’s conclusions, followed by background information on how the team approached the research task, a paragraph or two on any questions that might exist related to the research or research data, and the group’s recommendations on how that information can be applied.

2. Interpretive reports on a sales or marketing effort could begin with an overview or background of the situation, describe the present situation, and the group’s conclusions about why this situation now exists, offer recommendations about what should be done to rectify the situation or solve the problem, and conclude with the expected results.

3. Recommendation reports, the most frequently issued by teams, should begin with the actual recommendations. This would be followed by background information, a review of the problem and issues involved, criteria for the solution reached by the team, analysis of the various options, review of the risks that might exist, and in-depth description of the solution. 

Whatever format you use, remember that any team report should answer these questions:

• What was the team’s mission?
• What processes and techniques for studying the problem or reaching its conclusions were used?
• What approaches to the mission worked? Which didn’t work?
• What would the team recommend the organization do differently?
• How much time will implementation of the recommendation take?
• What are the implications of taking the action? Risks? Benefits?