Business trip reports are a widely used element of organizational communication. They are usually sent to a supervisor or to a group of associates to describe a business trip. Write useful business trip reports that provide details on the purpose of the trip, what you did, what you learnt and what recommendations you have for the readers of the memo. These reports follow a basic memorandum format with a header, statement of purpose, discussion and recommendations.
- Skill level:
Write an accurate memorandum heading. This must include: a) to whom the memo is addressed, b) the memo's author, c) the subject of the memo and d) the date it is written.
Begin with a short introduction-a paragraph will do-stating the purpose of your memo. Describe the reasons for the trip, and explain what you hoped to achieve from it. Include whatever background information your readers need to understand the context of your trip and the reason you are writing the memo. For instance, mention where you travelled. If you went to a seminar, mention who the keynote speakers were; if you went to a business meeting, specify which company you met with and the subject of the meeting.
Summarise your trip. If it was a fact-finding trip, describe what your findings were. If it was a seminar, review the highlights. Do not provide a tedious minute-by-minute record of your trip; nobody wants to hear the boring details. For example, do not include extensive notes on every talk or meeting. There's no need to describe the five-course meals you had, or how beautiful the view from your hotel room was. Of course, some lighthearted comments may be welcome, depending on your company policy on business reports. Focus on writing a clear and crisp outline that is easy to understand and covers the main points of your trip. You could provide bullet point notes on the key issues of each meeting, who attended and the decisions or changes that must be made because of the trip.
State any information about the trip that is relevant to your line of work or research. Include here any recommendations you want to share with your readers. Think carefully about this step in your memo, as important decisions could be made based on the suggestions you provide.
Include a distribution list of the business associates that will receive the memo.
Tips and warnings
- If you have to write to various readers, identify one of them as your main reader. This way you can focus your writing on meeting the expectations and requirements of your main reader.
- Write your business trip reports as soon as possible after your trip, while details are still fresh.
- Check your company's policy on the style that business trip reports should follow. Some companies allow for humour and lighthearted prose, while others expect a more serious tone.
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