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#FridayFact: Polished, Professional Documents Matter

#FridayFact: Polished, Professional Documents Matter published on 25 Comments on #FridayFact: Polished, Professional Documents Matter

If you want to make a good impression, you need to make sure that your documents are polished and professional, with every element right where readers expect it. Think about how you prepare for a job interview. You wear specific kinds of clothes. You carry specific accessories, depending upon your field. You make sure that you look polished, not wrinkly. Everything is exactly right and just as the interviewer expects it. Nothing is missing.

By analogy, the documents that you write need to have the same polished, professional appearance. Everything needs to be in its place, just were the reader expects it. Nothing is missing. As you work on your Genre Analysis Report, review the components that make up the front and back matter for your report in this University of Minnesota video (4m35s):

 

Note: This video has closed captioning, so it does not need a transcript.


 

25 Comments

Although it may seem like the body is the most important part of a report, it is important that the front and back matter is polished as well. If these components are easy to understand, readers will have a better time navigating the document and getting all of the details out of it that the writer is trying to convey. For me, I think the table of contents is one of the most important pieces of front matter. If wrong, it can really frustrate readers and cause them a lot of confusion.

I completely agree with Olivia. The body may hold the majority of the report’s information, but the front and back setup and conclude the report for the reader. They provide the first and last impression of the report to the reader, so if they are not complete or contain errors, that will reflect what the reader takes away from the report.

I like the analogy relating the way that you should be dressed and polished to an interview is similar to how a document should look to its reader. The document should be professional and polished, so that the reader has an expectation that the body of the document will be just as professional and polished. I think that things such as the cover page and the table of contents is very important to have perfected because it sets the standard of how the rest of the document will be.

This video emphasized the importance of the front and back matter, because if a reader doesn’t have time to read through the entire report at first, they will often look to the key sections in the front and back to get the overall idea of the report. This is why they must be so polished and easy to understand. These sections have to make a good impression on the reader in order to entice them to read more.

After watching the video on the components of Analytical Reports, I feel like I relearned the value of creating something based on the audience. To be more specific, we gear our writings based on who is reading it. As mentioned previously in correlation with the usage of exclamation points, if we are texting a friend or classmate, we are not going to be as formal and care so much about punctuation and spelling. However, if you are writing to a future employer or potential recruiter for an internship, then you are going to not double, but triple check your spelling and grammar usage to create a good impression and to show that you have a high level of professionalism. When constructing an Analytical Report, create it the way you would want to envision it, of course, but also consider who is going to be reading it. Not utilizing flashy colors and keeping it serious is always a safe bet for most coursework in school and even in the professional working world. Overall, I enjoyed viewing this video and have definitely implemented these tools in my Genre Analysis Report.

Marko,
I completely agree with you about relearning the value of creating something based on your audience. I think with the video and this class I have learned more about being professional in writing, over-checking your work, and making a good impression with your writing. When you hit all those points you make a good impression with professionals.

This is a great resource that everyone should watch before submitting their Genre Analysis Paper. The video does a great job at explaining key components of a paper, which is extremely helpful and valuable for our current assignment.

I also think the analogy shared above about professionalism is true – one wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) show up to an interview/work unprepared. This holds true with final papers/assignments as well. Noticing small details is just as important as having good content. If a paper looks unprofessional, the reader may think that it was rushed. This may ultimately result in the person not reading your well written paper that just “doesn’t look the part”. As such, it is imperative to pay attention to the smaller details.

This video was very helpful in regards to analytical reports, and I used the advise it provided to finish my General Analysis Report. The introduction to a report needs to be just as, if not more, professional than the body of the paper. This is the sections in which the argument of your paper shines, and it is important for the reader to grasp its importance as early on as possible.

I found this video to be very helpful. I agree that the front and back are just as important as the body paragraphs. The front is what catches the readers attention and explains what you will discuss. Most of the time we focus more on the body paragraphs than the conclusion, and that could be very harmful to the report. Each section should be equally professional. This is something we should keep in mind as we submit our Genre Analysis papers.

This video was very helpful and directly related to our genre analysis assignment. I wish I had seen this video before I submitted my analysis because I did not realize how important the executive summary section was. If I had seen this earlier, I would have included more within my executive summary and provided more detail for the readers. I would also have included my interview questions and answers within the appendix section, but instead I left my interview out completely. This video is a good resource to have and look back on in the future.

I completely agree with you Lillie. I wish I had looked at this resource sooner to add their advice into my genre analysis assignment. I would have included a better synopsis in the “executive summary” section. I also would have better cited my sources instead of just listing them in the “Bibliography” section. Like you said, this video is a really great resource that will be useful in future business assignments.

After watching this video I found that the front and back of my general analysis paper is not good enough. I paid almost all my attention on the body paragraph and neglected the importance of the introduction and conclusion. This video helps me understand the importance of front and back of a document, and I will do better next time.

I was unaware that the information at the front and back actually had a name, but as most people have said, those pieces are so important. I know I have read several articles where I skim the beginning and results section to see if it will be beneficial to read the rest of the report. With that being said, I am going to make sure my executive summary and back matter is clear and can help the reader understand what my paper is about without reading the entire document.

The video can be a great reference to use when I check my genre analysis report because the video shows me what I should put on my front and back page. In the front page, I should be careful for putting things on the front page because the front page is where my reader will first pay attention to; without a good front page, then the reader won’t even continue reading the report. The back page is where my bibliography and appendix go.

I should have watched this video earlier. I wasn’t sure what are the differences between the Executive Summary and Introduction. I was really confused by these two sections when writing my Genre Report. I spend a lot of time to learn what is the difference between these two and what I should write for each section. Even this video is a general summary of the report sections, it points out how should the Executive Summary and Introduction look like.

I am rather familiar with professional documents and comfortable with this form of writing. The video refers to a professional document as two parts, a front matter and back matter. I found this really interesting but after watching the video, I realized it all makes sense and gives great insight.

I liked the comparison between professional documents and the appearance and preparation required of a job interview. They are both examples of how you represent yourself to others. One thing that could be unprofessional is using different wording in the table of contents than the actual headings in the writing. I’ve learned the importance of the executive summary over this semester but this video did a good job of laying this out. This video also gave distinctions between the abstract and executive summary which was informative.

The points made in the video are incredibly useful and insightful, especially since most business majors work on reports but get little no no guidance from professors on how to make them look professional. Many professors just care about the material to determine a grade, however in the real world professionalism and formatting are much more important. I remembered this video when working on the formatting of the Genre Analysis report, and remembered that my groupmmates had told me to work on formatting for some previous assignments. Because of this, I knew formatting work was a weak point for me and had to make sure the report was formatted professionally. Certain aspects, like creating an executive summary, were very useful in my analysis report and before taking this class, I did not know what an executive summary was.

After watched the video, I feel the first impression is not only important in an interview but only important in our writing. Our writings should always be concise and polished. The content of a paper is important, but we should also put our time on other sections in a paper. In a paper, we should always begin with determining the audience of our writings. Then we should clearly show why we write this paper. The other small details such as title page and grammar are also important. If a technical report has a lot of grammar mistakes, it will make reader feel the report is unprofessional and mess it up. Good design for paper organization helps it more readable and bring readers a good impression. As the video mentioned, writers also should pay more attention back matter. Be careful using a correct methods to cite the work.

The video helped me better understand the organization and content of an analytical report. I didn’t know that the executive summary and the abstract section were very different. The executive summary paraphrases your report, while an abstract follows the phrasing and organization of the report itself. I also didn’t know that the citation style you use is the one most commonly used in your field. My default citation style is MLA, and I never really considered the difference between different styles. The front and back matter of a report should always be polished to begin and end your report on the best note. You want the reader to continue reading (front matter) and you want the reader to conclude your report thinking the best of the writer and the way it was written (back matter). I wished I had watched this video earlier, but I will use the information I learned in future business writing.

This video was helpful in making me understand the importance of making front and back matter polished. Thinking back on reports that I have chanced upon while preforming research in library databases, I always appreciated a thorough abstracts that detailed the different topics that I could expect to learn about in the paper. It made it much easier for me to skim through papers faster instead of reading the bodies. Knowing this, I will make sure to apply this to future reports that I write.

This video was helpful in understanding what information I need to include in my genre analysis report. I am still confused on how to create an appendix. I don’t understand whether I should use a separate page for each document used or if I should group the documents and put them together on one page since I am providing links to the documents. The front and back matter are the most important part of a report because they grab the readers attention as well as summarizes the entire document.

This video stresses the importance of having great front and back matter. Most would think that the body is the most important part of a paper, but if the title and introduction do not catch the readers attention, then they will never even reach the body. I am very glad I watched this video as it will help me with reports in the future. By focusing on these two main aspects, it will help to improve my overall writing of analysis reports.

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