Three Steps to Writing Better Annual Reports

Congratulations! You have won the departmental lottery and now get to write this year’s annual report.
Don’t panic! When confronting the (potential) enormity of the task before you, remember the timeless advice shared by practitioners of long-format writing: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!”
All kidding aside, you have a big task, with plenty of pitfalls and dead ends. Your company’s annual report is a vital document that shows readers what your organization values, what it did over the prior 12 months to realize those values, and what it plans to do to continue living and delivering on its values. 
No biggie, right? I mean, it’s not like there’s a lot of change going on in society or your industry, right?
But your annual report should be more than a bulleted check list of activities and accomplishments. Save that for your self-review at your annual performance review. Instead, this year’s annual report should have meaningful connective tissue to last year’s report, and lay some of the groundwork for next year’s report.
Think “the hip bone’s connected to the leg bone, the leg bone’s connected to the ankle bone.”
Communications Tip of the Month

Three steps to writing better annual reports:

  1. Get outside yourself
  2. Pay attention to your customers' concerns
  3. Tell stories
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November 17, 2021
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Pam Butler, Manager of ESG  Communications
Xcel Energy

 Matthew Wald, former New York Times energy reporter and NEI spokesperson