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Do You Know How You Learn?

Each person has his or her own way of taking in information and processing it. How we do this affects how well we learn and so the trick is to frame the learning in a suitable way.

Visual Learners

They think in pictures, videos and diagrams. They respond to seeing what they have to learn. They remember by visualizing concepts and ideas.

Auditory Learners

They respond to seeing different stimuli. They prefer to learn through lectures and discussions when they can talk through ideas, voice their opinions and hear what others have to say.

Tactile Learners

They are hands-on students. They need to experience, explore and discover for themselves. Being made to sit still for long periods of time is difficult for them because they like to be actively involved in their learning.

Learners can display behavior from more than one category but knowing your primary learning style is useful. For example, tactile learners won't respond well to sitting still and listening to lectures, but will prefer a learning game. Visual learners won't respond to discussions if they isn't something for them to focus on, like handout or notes. Your learning style can affect what you're interested. Visual learners do well in art. Tactile learners may enjoy jigsaw puzzles. Auditory learners make good debaters.

Write Better Reports

'The words you use, the content you include and even the format of your report should be tailor-made for your target readers. Are they experienced in the subject matter? Are there different  types of readers? What issues are important to them? Who are they?  What will they use the report for? Will a formal or informal style be most helpful to them? Answering these questions will paint a mental picture of your target reader, and you can then write the report like a personal message to that person.

Prepare Before You Write

Too often, we put off writing reports because it seems such a daunting task. You can overcome this problem by breaking the project down to several steps. If you are writing the report together with other people, plan and delegate accordingly: Allocate a segment to each team member, and make sure everyone understands his part and how it gets with the entire report. Next, gather all the information you will need to write your report. If you begin writing before you have all the necessary data, you may have to stop half way through the report, and it may be difficult to start again. Finally, organise your material in the way that is most logical and appropriate for the reader.

Clarity Above All

The same principles apply in report writing as with all other written business messages. Remember this: If your readers have to read it twice, they probably will not. So you have only one chance to get your message across - and. you should make it clear and easy to understand the first time. While you do not want your report to consist only of bullets points, there are times when a list is the most concise and effective way to lay out information. For instance, if you have written a long, involved sentence, consider whether it can be rewritten as a list of points, steps or ideas.

Use Jargon Appropriately

Jargon can be a useful communication tool, if you are certain with it. If not, use plain English.

Use The Best Layout For Your Purpose

Provide adequate margins and lots of white space. This makes it easy for the reader to focus on the words. Use embedded tables and boxes to set off related information that does not fit well in the narrative. Use no more than two types of font in one report

Make It Easy To Find Information

Imagine reading a long magazine article with no headings or subheadings - it would be hard to follow the story. This same applies to your report. Use lots of sub-headings. This way, the reader not only knows what is coming, but will also be able to make references or look for specific subjects easily later on. If your report is very long, provide an executive summary. This should be as brief as possible and summarises what the reader will find in the report, and where. Even though the executive summary will appear at the front of your bound document, you should write it last.


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