Someone who receives advice wants to know what you think they should do. Of course you don’t go too fast when drawing up your advice. But if you pepper your advice with all kinds of background information and alternative options, the reader gets distracted. Certainly if several people have to decide on your advice, you run a great risk that your advice will not become a decision document but a discussion document. In the advice, therefore, limit yourself to the core. (Previously prepared research reports and discussion memos can be attached as an attachment for completeness.) Questions to which the reader expects an answer are:
- What is the advice?
- What are the arguments for?
- What are the caveats?
- What are the costs?
Example: another keyword program
Our data analyst indicates that he wants to use a different keyword research program. I’m responsible for the budget, but I don’t have the time (nor want to if I’m honest) to really delve VP Maintenance Email Lists into it. So I don’t need an extensive overview in which all kinds of solutions are compared. I just want advice from the data analyst, a short point-by-point explanation of why he advises that, an equally short point-by-point explanation of any drawbacks and an overview of the costs. In this case, that is even fine in an e-mail. Then I know enough to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
3. Write reader questions for a progress report
Your manager probably wants to keep a finger on the pulse of both projects and current affairs. This is possible with a periodic progress report. It doesn’t have to contain all the ins and outs. Questions to which the reader expects an answer are:
- What results/milestones have we achieved?
- What stands out?
- What’s not going well?
- What is the reason?
- What are the possible consequences for the end result, planning, costs, etc.?
- What now?
Example: the performance of the website
Our online marketers continuously monitor the performance of our website. I myself receive a progress report once every three months. I find that often enough, because if there are urgent matters, the marketers will of course immediately sound the alarm. The report consists of an A4 with key figures, including comparison with the previous period and the same period last year. Everything in infographics. Sometimes supplemented with a point-by-point summary of the things that stand out to the data analyst. Do I have questions that require additional data? Then that extra data is easily found. This is clearer than sending all kinds of in-depth data as standard as a precaution.