Writing to the board

Insider content to help you plan and write targeted reports for your board or senior team

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The problem with board report templates (and what you should do instead)

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How to write an executive summary for your board report – and why you should [with examples]

A board of people meeting behind glass walls.

Writing a report for the board? Here’s what you need to know

For those answers that don't need a full article

There’s no one definitive answer to this. As a very general rule, we suggest aiming to stay within three to four pages at the most. And if your board or senior team (or a company template, if you have one) suggests or dictates a length, always stay within that.

Do remember that – unlike at school – a word or page limit is not the same as a target to hit! The aim is to provide the necessary information and requested level of detail that allows the report to do its job. That may be to make sure the board is updated or able to make a decision based on the recommendations you make or research you present. If you can do that in a more succinct report, that’s great. Don’t feel you have to add more filler just to up the word count.

We generally advise not to use PowerPoint for reports – it’s designed for presentations and that’s what it’s best for. It’s easy for slides to end up crammed with tiny text that’s tough to read.

However, views on best practice do vary from organisation to organisation. Check with the board or senior team whether they prefer one over the other.

Crucially, if you do use PowerPoint for your report, remember that a version designed to be read as a report is very unlikely to also work well as a presentation deck.

It can be very challenging to get mixed messages about what you should be producing. In this case, write your report as succinctly as you can, and add the detail the director will want in an appendix.

Make it easy for them to find the extra information they want: refer them to the page numbers where they’ll find this detail at the relevant points of the main report.

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'We cut the iterations on our strategy documents from 56 to just 4!'

'We cut the iterations on our strategy documents from 56 to just 4!'
'We cut the iterations on our strategy documents from 56 to just 4!'


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