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Tips to improve board and committee papers

Many writers struggle with what to put in and what to leave out of a board or committee paper. Part of the difficulty is that board papers have to be SO concise these days. Gone are the days when you could write 10 pages. Now most boards want two-to-four pages max. Ways to reduce clutter […]

Writing board and executive papers

How to write board papers when your organisation doesn’t have executive papers I’ve worked for a few organisations this year, large and small, that don’t have executive papers. The problem with not having executive papers is that writers produce board papers that read like executive papers. I call them pseudo-board papers. With small-to-medium-sized organisations, I […]

‘Directors don’t read their board papers’

‘We know they don’t read their board papers because they ask questions that are addressed in the papers.’ I hear this complaint often from people who write and present to boards. Write so directors can recall the content I am sure there are some directors who rely on meetings rather than their board pack, but […]

Writing board papers

This article first appeared in LexisNexis’s journal, Inhouse Counsel. Board papers are a bit like dirty dishes — once you’ve finished one lot, the next lot has piled up, and the board paper round begins again. So how can you make the process simpler for yourself? If you have a company secretarial role, you will […]

Sum it up: how to write a summary

A summary is a concise account of the main points in a document. Some of the terms used to describe summaries in business writing are: ‘executive summary’, ‘overview’, ‘key points’, ‘issues’ or just ‘summary’. Short and long summaries How you approach writing a summary depends on what type of document you are summarising. Some documents, […]

Why I wrote my online board paper course

I wrote my online board paper course, Write to Govern: How to write board and committee papers so organisations could: Tailor it to suit their board paper requirements. Tailored online learning is more effective than generic training for board papers because each board’s requirements are different. A generic course can teach the basic principles, but […]

Structure and coherence

By Mary Morel | December 2016 How to write a board paper that flows well When you’re reporting to the board, you’re writing to inform them or help them make an informed decision. A well-structured and coherent paper covers what directors need to know in a logical order from their point of view, not yours. […]

A conversation with David Wright about strategy and board papers

By Mary Morel | November 2016 Building on a career in IBM, David Wright has worked across an amazing breadth of industry and government in Australia and globally. He specialises in working with chief executives and leadership teams to create strategies and plans. Mary Morel: Can you please give me a layperson’s definition of strategy. […]

Writing financial commentary in a board paper

By Mary Morel | October 2016 Imagine you’re writing a board paper that contains financial information. You’ve crunched the numbers, even done a graph or two, but you’ve been told by your manager that you need to write ‘commentary’. If you’re a ‘numbers’ person, words may not be your strength. Here are a few tips about […]

Writing about risk in a board paper

Directors care about risk because if things go wrong, the consequences can be dramatic and long-lasting. Just think about the impact of the Australian census website crashing on census night, and the fallout from VW’s emission failure. All organisations share some risks in common, such as people, safety, financial, and reputation, but some risks, such […]