Writing for Business

Reports
Community and government organisations are often asked to submit reports - annual reports, project reports, research reports and other reports.
Report writing conventions vary, depending on the type of report that is required. However, a well-written report gives an account of something that is clear, logical, comprehensive and succinct.

Policy and Procedures Manuals
Policies and procedures are instructions for an organisation that detail why and how to do things, according to the organisation's purpose and philosophy. They cover a range of actions, including those relating to clients and those relating to good governance.

Staff Handbooks
A staff handbook contains a list of information the staff of an organisation need to know. It is a day-to-day guide on service routines and task requirements. It can also include information about other matters such as staff and management structure, employee records, professional expectations, staff communication, and policy and procedures.
A well-written staff handbook informs readers about a range of organisational issues in a summarised and quickly accessible form, so that an employee obtains an immediate overview of how an organisation works and knows where to go for further information.

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Strategic and Operational Plans
Strategic and operational plans systematise an organisation's vision about what it does and what it wants to do. These plans usually list an organisation's goals, the strategies for achieving them, the performance indicators, the outputs and outcomes, in table format. Operational plans detail the tasks required to carry out the strategies. The terminology of strategic plans can be confusing. They need to be written clearly and concisely by a writer in control of the language.

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Position Descriptions
Most organisations are required to provide position descriptions to their employees and to prospective employees. Position descriptions give an overall description of a job according to its title and any relevant award or contract. They also outline the tasks associated with carrying out a job and indicate the position to which an employee reports or is responsible. They need to be written in such a way that provides a clear overall picture of what a job entails.

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History of an Organisation
Organisations marking significant anniversaries often want to tell their stories as a way of celebrating achievements and passing on important information to the next generation of members or to the public. Social histories, with their mix of factual detail and anecdote, are a readable and interesting way of providing this kind of record.

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Newsletter Articles
A good newsletter article should convey a maximum amount of information with a minimum number of words. This can be achieved with careful editing that favours the use of simple, direct sentences and vocabulary that articulates meaning in a concise manner.
Some newsletters contain interviews with people of interest. A good newsletter interview asks a few key questions, then condenses the recorded material into written form to convey the main themes.

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Submissions
Organisations usually write two types of submissions - grant applications to funding bodies and responses to public enquiries. Grant applications usually follow a strict format with proscribed word limits, often on a specific application form.
Submissions to public inquiries are opportunities for organisations to represent the interests of their members or clients. These submissions argue a case, and provide evidence in support, for changes to public policy. An effective submission directly addresses the inquiry's terms of reference and is clearly written and well-argued.
Many submissions are weakened by their use of obfuscating, superfluous or jargon-filled phrases that make the reading of them hard work. Good submission-writing requires the ability to use formal or bureaucratic language to argue a strong case in a clear, concise and meaningful way.

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Policy Papers/Discussion Papers/Issues Papers
A policy paper outlines an organisation's policy on a particular issue. Issue papers are used to document the issues involved in a policy area and to assist discussion on the issues within the organisation. A discussion or issues paper may be the first step in developing a policy paper. These papers need to be written in a clear, succinct and logical way to best facilitate discussion and further development.

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Research Papers
Research is time-consuming, demanding work, the results of which should be represented in a clear, well-written paper. A good research paper presents complex information in a coherent and logical manner, taking the reader step-by-step through the process of the research to the conclusions. Quality editing and proof-reading can turn a draft research paper into a professional document that presents the work in the clearest and best possible light.

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Client Profiles
Client profiles are used to assist staff who work in organisations that provide services to high-need clients. These documents contain relevant information about a client that will assist staff members to provide the best service to that person. They work best for the clients when they are written in a humane manner that respects the person's dignity and confidentiality.

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