Eight principles of effective reports

Effective reports

Outlined below are 8 principles that you can use to guide in you in developing effective reports:

  • Purpose: The purpose of the report and the key issues and questions it addresses are set out concisely. 
  • Methodology: The methodology followed in the report is provided and is appropriate to the questions being investigated.
  • Results: Information is clearly presented and described.
  • Analysis: Results are analysed objectively.
  • Discussion: Results and analysis are discussed in terms of research/industry/technical standards and related back to the purpose of the report.
  • Conclusions and recommendation: Conclusions and recommendations linked to findings are developed and provide a clear basis for decision-making.
  •  Structure: The report is well structured and easy to navigate.
  • Writing: The report is concise and easy to read.

To access the course on Effective Reports click here. Link.

Five benefits of effective reports

Effective reports

Effective reports have many benefits that can be used to justify the time and cost these take to develop.  Some of these benefits are outlined below.

  • Data is gathered and analysed to provide clear findings which can be used for decisions.
  • A rigorous, objective methodology ensures that findings and recommendations are evidence-based and not arbitrary or subjective.
  • A critical approach to data and methodology helps to identify weaknesses and make these explicit so that these can be taken into account.
  • The report is well structured and easy to navigate enabling the reader to quickly review areas they wish to look at.
  • The writing in the report is precise and ambiguity is avoided.

To access the course on Effective Reports click here. Link.

Roles and responsibilities at meetings

effective meetings

If roles and responsibilities at meetings are not clear a lot of time may be wasted. Where there is designated chairperson, minute-taker and identified people to present on particular subjects, meetings are likely to lack structure, minutes and take place in a chaotic and haphazard way.

This can be avoided by allocating clear roles and responsibilities at meetings. At a minimum the chairperson and minute-taker should be identified. The roles and responsibilities in an effective meeting are outlined below.

PersonRoles and responsibilities
ChairpersonThe chairperson of a meeting helps design the meeting and is responsible for ensuring the meeting achieves its objectives. They need to ensure that the agenda and schedule for the meeting are followed. They need to ensure that sufficient time is allowed to present important information and discuss this.They must be inclusive and ensure that all participants can provide their points of view.
Persons to speak on issues at meetingsIt is often useful to get the most knowledgeable person, or the most affected person on a particular issue to present this issue at a meeting. This person must be properly briefed before the meeting about the purpose of their contribution and the desired outcome. Instructions on the material to be presented, such as report or presentation and timeframes should also be provided. The role of this person is to present the topic succinctly and be available to answer questions that may arise.
Minute takersMinute takers capture discussions and agreements reached in meetings in a structured format. Minutes must be an accurate record of the meeting and it is therefore important that the minute taker captures key issues. Where necessary, they must be able to ask for clarity during the meeting. On important issues on fast-moving projects it sometimes is necessary for minute takers to read their minutes back to participants during the meeting so that this can be agreed as a true record straight away. Minute takers must be able to discern the most important issues at a meeting and be able to draft succinct minutes which captures these issues while avoiding lengthy minutes unnecessary detail. Minute takers must also have sufficient time to draft the minutes immediately after the meeting so that these can be checked and shared within 3-4 days after a meeting. It is important to include a process during meetings that ensures that participants have read minutes of previous meetings and agree that this is a true record of the meeting. Where corrections are necessary these should be made and minutes reissued.

A course on effective meetings can be accessed here. Link

Seven key things that you need to do to prepare for meetings

Preparing for meetings

Many meetings waste time as there has been insufficient preparation. This can lead to busy participants refusing invitations to meetings in future and make it more difficult to achieve agreements and maintain progress on projects.

To avoid this, good preparation is necessary. The following 7 steps can be used to prepare for effective meetings.

  1. Understand the purpose of the meeting and defining objectives.
  2. Design the meeting to achieve the objectives.
  3. Identify appropriate participants.
  4. Develop an agenda and refine in discussion with participants.
  5. Identify a chairperson, persons to speak to issues and minute-taker.
  6. Issue an agenda, minutes and documents ahead of the meeting date.
  7. Schedule meetings electronically with start and end times and location.

Access the course on Effective Meetings Course here. Link.

What is an effective meeting?

Effective meetings achieve their objectives. Participants leave with a sense of achievement and know what will happen next as a result of the meeting. Characteristics of effective meetings are outlined below.

  • The objectives of the meeting are clear. An agenda is provided and the purpose of the meeting is shared at the beginning of the meeting.
  • Participants actively contribute to the meeting. Participants understand why they have been invited and actively contribute to the meeting.
  • Good preparation means that participants are well briefed and can contribute appropriately. Agendas and relevant information have been circulated before the meeting. Participants have read this and are therefore well prepared for the meeting.
  • Actions are followed up and progress is made. Actions are minuted and followed up at the next meeting. There is a clear allocation of responsibility for undertaking actions and accountability for achieving these.
  • Discussions and agreements are recorded in agreed minutes. Accurate minutes are taken and issued soon after meetings. Procedures are in place to ensure that participants check minutes and vouch for their accuracy.
  • Meetings are tightly scheduled and are productive. An agenda with a schedule is provided. The chairperson keeps to the agenda and the schedule.

Access the course on Effective Meetings Course here. Link.

EME01 Effective Meetings

About this course

This course is on how meetings can be effective. It shows how you can plan, manage and follow up on meetings to ensure that they achieve their objectives.

We use meetings to share information and discuss and agree on issues. Sometimes meetings work well and objectives are met. However, other meetings do not appear to achieve much and appear to be a waste of time.

This course builds meeting design and management capabilities that avoid some of the traps that result in ineffective meetings to ensure that time spent in meetings is effectively used and productive.

What this course offers

Taking the course will enable you to understand more about meetings and develop skills,  knowledge and processes that will enable you to become more capable of running effective meetings.

What you will learn 

The course addresses the following topics.

1. What is an effective meeting?

This describes different types of meetings in terms of their purpose. It shows how the objectives of meetings need to be understood in order to have an effective meeting. An effective meeting achieves the objectives set for it.

2. How do you plan for effective meetings?

Once the objectives for the meeting are understood, meetings can be planned to achieve these objectives. Meeting structure and timing can be designed to ensure meeting activities such as the sharing of information, discussion, and agreement, and can be organised in a way that ensures that objectives are achieved.

3.  How do you manage effective meetings?

Following the agenda of the meeting and achieving the objectives of a meeting requires the meeting to guided by a chairperson. This is a skilled activity that needs to work with participants and respond to dynamics of the meeting to ensure that objectives are met.

4.  How do you follow up on effective meetings?

Good meetings can be a waste of time if no minutes are taken and shared, as people soon forget what was discussed and agreed. Therefore, following up with participants after meetings is an important way of ensuring that the meeting achieves change beyond the discussions at the meeting.

5. Are there tools and guides you can use for effective meetings?

Agenda and minute templates and checklists help ensure meetings are effective, as they ensure all of the key issues are addressed and not accidentally omitted. By avoiding ‘reinventing the wheel’ they also save time and allow meeting organisers to be more effective.

How you will learn

The course is online and you will be able to access the following resources

  • Course presentation
  • Course book
  • Course quiz
  • Templates and guides
  • Course work
  • Additional reading

The course is self-paced and you can work through the material in your own time. Course numbers are capped, so the length of access to courses will be limited to provide access to new participants. However, we aim to provide access for at least 1 month.

Course certificate

A course certificate can be provided should you wish to receive formal confirmation of your successful completion of the course. For this, you must download and apply tools and guides provided and submit coursework. This will be reviewed by the Course Instructor and, where requirements are met, a course certificate will be issued.

What do I need to attend the course?

You will need access to the Internet and a Gmail account with a password to access the course.  

Who developed the course?

The course was developed by Instructors who have designed and run management and technical courses for the United Nations, government departments, universities, professional bodies and community organisations.   

Accessing the course, course books, tools and guides

Access to the course enables you to view the presentations, the course book, tools and guides, the additional reading, the coursework and take the quiz. Please contact us with your Gmail address and the course you would like to attend here.

Course books, tools and guides can be viewed online during the course. If you would like to download and use these, these can be accessed through the shop.

ERE01 Effective Reports

This course is about developing effective reports. It shows how to develop a brief, gather and analyse data, and write this up into a well structured easy-to-understand report.

We use reports to present and analyse information to enable us to understand this better and make good decisions Some reports do this well, others are difficult to understand, do not have the right information and provide no analysis or conclusions.

This course aims to help you avoid some of the traps that result in ineffective reports and ensure that the time spent in developing and reading reports is efficiently used.

What this course offers

Taking the course and using some of the tools and guidelines will help you develop knowledge, skills, processes and documentation that will enable you to become more capable of developing effective reports.

What you will learn 

1. What is an effective report?

This describes effective reports. It shows how reports need to follow a particular structure to ensure information is presented clearly and logically that enables conclusions and recommendations to be made. It also outlines the principles and benefits of effective reports.

2. How do you prepare an effective report?

This describes the initial stages of preparing a report, including developing the brief, and identifying and understanding the information to be analysed.

3. How do you write an effective report?

This describes the structure and content of effective reports. It shows how it is important to follow a particular order in the report to ensure that information is easy to understand and conclusions and recommendations can be drawn.

4. Are there tools and guides you can use to develop effective reports?

Checklists and templates that can be used in developing reports are provided. These enable the process of writing reports to be more efficient and to help avoid  ‘reinventing the wheel’.

How you will learn

The course is online and you will be able to access the following resources

  • Course presentation
  • Course book
  • Course quiz
  • Templates and guides
  • Course work
  • Additional reading

The course is self-paced and you can work through the material in your own time. Course numbers are capped, so the length of access to courses will be limited to provide access to new participants. However, we aim to provide access for at least 1 month.

Course certificate

A course certificate can be provided should you wish to receive formal confirmation of your successful completion of the course. For this, you must download and apply tools and guides provided and submit coursework. This will be reviewed by the Course Instructor and, where requirements are met, a course certificate will be issued.

What do I need to attend the course?

You will need access to the Internet and a Gmail account with a password to access the course.  

Who developed the course?

The course was developed by Instructors who have designed and run management and technical courses for the United Nations, government departments, universities, professional bodies and community organisations.   

Accessing the course, course books, tools and guides

Access to the course enables you to view the presentations, the course book, tools and guides, the additional reading, the coursework and take the quiz. This is free. Please contact us with your Gmail address and the course you would like to attend here.

Course books, tools and guides can be viewed online during the course. If you would like to download and use these, these can be accessed through the shop.

EPM01 Effective Project Management

About this course

This course is about how to manage projects effectively.  It shows how you can plan, manage and close out projects in a way that ensures they achieve their objectives.

Projects are undertaken as a way of achieving a specific objective. Sometimes they work well and the objectives are met. However, there are also instances where projects do not achieve their objectives and take longer and cost more than planned.

What this course offers

Taking the course will help you develop knowledge, skills and processes that enable you to become more capable of running effective projects.

What you will learn

1. What is effective project management?
Effective project management is described. the course shows how the objectives of the project need to be understood to have an effective project. It also outlines the principles and benefits of effective projects.

2. How do you plan for effective projects?
This describes how a clear brief and project plan can be developed. It also shows how outputs, methodology, budget and risk are addressed and confirmed early in the project, enabling the project to be carried out efficiently.

3. How do you manage effective projects?
This section shows how a project plan forms the basis for managing a project. In addition, it demonstrates the valuable role that project meetings and progress reports play in ensuring projects are coordinated and monitored to achieve their objectives.

4. How do you close out effective projects?
As the projects draw to a close, team members can move on to other projects leaving ”untied ends”. This describes how projects should be closed to ensure that all aspects are fully completed and that the benefits of the project are achieved.

5. Are there tools and guides you can use for effective projects?
Project briefing, feasibility and plan checklists as well as project meeting agendas and minute templates help ensure projects are effective, as they ensure the key issues are addressed and not accidentally omitted. By avoiding ‘reinventing the wheel’, they also save time and allow project managers to be more effective.

How you will learn

The course is online and you will be able to access the following resources

  • Course presentation
  • Course book
  • Course quiz
  • Templates and guides
  • Course work
  • Additional reading

The course is self-paced and you can work through the material in your own time. Course numbers are capped, so the length of access to courses will be limited to provide access to new participants. However, we aim to provide access for at least 1 month.

Course certificate

A course certificate can be provided should you wish to receive formal confirmation of your successful completion of the course. For this, you must download and apply tools and guides provided and submit coursework. This will be reviewed by the Course Instructor and, where requirements are met, a course certificate will be issued.

What do I need to attend the course?

You will need access to the Internet and a Gmail account with a password to access the course.  

Who developed the course?

The course was developed by Instructors who have designed and run management and technical courses for the United Nations, government departments, universities, professional bodies and community organisations.   

Accessing the course, course books, tools and guides

Access to the course enables you to view the presentations, the course book, tools and guides, the additional reading, the coursework and take the quiz. Please contact us with your Gmail address and the course you would like to attend here.

Course books, tools and guides can be viewed online during the course. If you would like to download and use these, these can be accessed through the shop.

EFS01 Effective Feasibility Studies

About this course

This course is about effective feasibility studies. It shows how to develop a feasibility study brief, carry out feasibility studies and investigations and write this up in a format that enables decisions to be made.

Projects and businesses are expensive and take time to establish. It is, therefore, worthwhile to undertake investigations before you embark on this to make sure that you a) are taking the best approach to achieve your objectives and b) that what you are proposing to do is feasible and can be achieved. Feasibility studies aim to provide you with this assurance.

What this course offers

Taking the course will enable you to understand more about feasibility studies and develop skills,  knowledge and processes that will enable you to become more capable of developing effective feasibility studies.

What you will learn

The course covers the following topics.

1. What is an effective feasibility study?

Effective feasibility studies are described. It shows how feasibility studies need to investigate key issues and provide clear conclusions and recommendations that can be used to make decisions. It also outlines the principles and benefits of effective feasibility studies.

2. How do carry out effective feasibility studies?

This describes the key components of a feasibility study including the brief, options evaluation, project development, feasibility studies, conclusions and recommendations.

 3. How do you write up a feasibility study?

This describes how to write up feasibility studies. It provides the structure of a feasibility study and the content that should be included.  

 4. Are there tools and guides you can use for effective feasibility studies?

Checklists and templates that can be used in feasibility studies are provided. These enable the process of carrying out feasibility studies to be more efficient and to help avoid  ‘reinventing the wheel’.

How you will learn

The course is online and you will be able to access the following resources

  • Course presentation
  • Course book
  • Course quiz
  • Templates and guides
  • Course work
  • Additional reading

The course is self-paced and you can work through the material in your own time. Course numbers are capped, so the length of access to courses will be limited to provide access to new participants. However, we aim to provide access for at least 1 month.

Course certificate

A course certificate can be provided should you wish to receive formal confirmation of your successful completion of the course. For this, you must download and apply tools and guides provided and submit coursework. This will be reviewed by the Course Instructor and, where requirements are met, a course certificate will be issued.

What do I need to attend the course?

You will need access to the Internet and a Gmail account with a password to access the course.  

Who developed the course?

The course was developed by Instructors who have designed and run management and technical courses for the United Nations, government departments, universities, professional bodies and community organisations.   

Accessing the course, course books, tools and guides

Access to the course enables you to view the presentations, the course book, tools and guides, the additional reading, the coursework and take the quiz. Please contact us with your Gmail address and the course you would like to attend here.

Course books, tools and guides can be viewed online during the course. If you would like to download and use these, these can be accessed through the shop.

RWH01 Rainwater Harvesting

About this course

This course is about rainwater harvesting in small buildings and, in housing, in particular. It describes how rainwater harvesting systems can be designed and installed in buildings to supplement or replace, municipal water supplies.

In many areas of the world, water is becoming increasingly scarce. Climate change, increasing urbanisation and limited maintenance and upgrading of municipal water infrastructure is making this situation worse and in many areas, water supplies are also becoming increasingly unreliable.

As water is a necessity for life, it is necessary to think about alternative water resources and ensuring that a reliable supply is achieved. One of the most effective ways of doing this is through a rainwater harvesting system. This enables rain falling on a site to be captured and used. Where there is sufficient rain it is possible to source all of the water required on a site in this manner and not to have a municipal supply. In this way, buildings can be ‘off-grid’ and effectively ‘water neutral’.

The course provides guidance on how to develop rainwater harvesting systems. It includes calculations that can be used to size a rainwater harvesting system and shows how these can be designed, installed and maintained.

What this course offers

Taking the course, and using the tools and checklists, will help you develop knowledge, skills and processes that will enable you to become more capable of developing rainwater harvesting systems.

What you will learn

The following topics will be covered in the course.

1. What is a rainwater harvesting system?

Rainwater harvesting systems are described. The reasons why rainwater harvesting systems are developed are also provided.

2. What are the components of a rainwater harvesting system?

The key components of a rainwater harvesting system are introduced with examples. The section also shows how these components are assembled to build a full rainwater harvesting system.

3. How do you design a rainwater harvesting system?

This section shows that it is important to understand water needs and rainfall patterns before rainwater harvesting systems can be designed. It provides calculations that can be used to size rainwater tanks and calculate the payback periods of systems.  

 4. How do you install and manage a rainwater harvesting system?

This section provides pointers on the installation and management of rainwater harvesting systems. This includes developing a log to monitor issues and the performance of the system

5. Are there tools and guides you can to develop rainwater harvesting systems?

Tools and guides that can be used for the development of rainwater harvesting systems are provided. These enable the process of developing rainwater harvesting systems to be more efficient and to help avoid  ‘reinventing the wheel’.

How you will learn

The course is online and you will be able to access the following resources

  • Course presentation
  • Course book
  • Course quiz
  • Templates and guides
  • Course work
  • Additional reading

The course is self-paced and you can work through the material in your own time. Access to course will be provided for 3 months from the date of registration.

Course certificate

A course certificate can be provided should you wish to receive formal confirmation of your successful completion of the course. For this, you must download and apply tools and guides provided and submit coursework. This will be reviewed by the Course Instructor and, where requirements are met, a course certificate will be issued.

What do I need to attend the course?

You will need access to the Internet and a Gmail account with a password to access the course.  

Who developed the course?

The course was developed by Instructors who have designed and run management and technical courses for the United Nations, government departments, universities, professional bodies and community organisations.   

Accessing the course, course books, tools and guides

Access to the course enables you to view the presentations, the course book, tools and guides, the additional reading, the coursework and take the quiz. Please contact us with your Gmail address and the course you would like to attend here.

Course books, tools and guides can be viewed online during the course. If you would like to download and use these, these may be available through the shop.