Is your annual report awesome? Does it tell your story well? | Photo by Aneta Pawlik on Unsplash
Annual report. Those two little words often conjure up other words like ‘dull’, ‘heavy’, and even ‘eyes glaze over’. But not always! In selecting the best of the best, our Awards judges tend to use very different and much more positive words to describe winning entries. Words like ‘engaging’, ‘compelling’ and ‘impressive’.
So what does it take to get such accolades? Almost every winning entry over many years has inspired the judges to comment on the story told in the report. Here’s a great example from their comments on the Ryman Healthcare Annual Report 2018.
‘a strong example of how a company can take complex information and share the details both with clarity and with compelling storytelling’
‘The report tells an extremely engaging story that would undoubtedly appeal to a general reader.’
Why story? It’s easy to present data without joining the dots for readers. Stories carry messages and deliver information beyond mere numbers and facts. They answer the questions ‘so what?’ and ‘why should I care?’ Stories raise oxytocin, the ‘feel good’ hormone — we’re interested and engaged and we want more.
So if you’re proud of the story told in your annual report, yours could be the one our judges rave about this year!
Check the features of an awesome annual report below to see how yours measures up. And don’t be modest!
A checklist for Annual Report Awesomeness
|Check that your annual report:
| Yes, it's good to go!
|No, it needs more work
|Tells an engaging and compelling story about relevant events, context, and trends
|Is structured with the reader’s needs front and centre
|Expresses complex information clearly and thoughtfully
|Reports technical details and data in a way that keeps the reader’s attention
|Uses an attractive design that helps tell the story
|Is accessible to all intended audiences
|Is memorable for all the right reasons (yes, it’s still about the story!)
Read the entry criteria for Best Plain English Annual Report
Meet the judges for Best Plain English Annual Report
Posted In: 2021 Plain English Awards, Annual report
accountability, annual report, Best Annual Report, clear communication, transparency
Put your compelling annual report into the limelight
Have you joined the wave of change? Does your annual report tick off all the statutory stipulations and hum with life? Does it tell a compelling story of what matters to you and your stakeholders? Is it clear and concise?
If you’re twitching with pride right now, jump up and give your report the razzle dazzle it deserves.
Enter this year’s Plain English Awards and your report can leap into the limelight and take a bow. Entries close at midnight on Monday, 3 September 2018.
Fabulous feedback is waiting in the wings
Imagine you and your report basking in this kind of feedback. Here’s what the judges had to say about last year’s winners:
Overall, this is a great example of how you can appease regulatory requirements and appeal to a general reader — a true plain English experience with the audience in mind. Well done!
Great use of visual storytelling and pared-down messaging. The colours are vibrant and engaging.
This report has very little jargon, which is always great to see. The vocabulary is straightforward and clear.
More than just compliance
Gone are the days of an impenetrable collection of numbers and words, prepared for compliance purposes. Shareholders and stakeholders have switched their attention to companies with timely and relevant information shared in a compelling way.
Is this you? If it is, enter this year’s awards today — you need the fabulous feedback, and the world needs excellent examples.
Here’s what winners Z Energy said last year:
We knew making the report highly readable would help readers connect with what Z has achieved and its vision for the future.
A winning report is clear, easy to read, timely, and relevant
Judges will focus on the body of the report and will be checking that:
- all readers (not just the financial wizards) will find it easy to read and use
- readers can use the report to make useful decisions and comparisons.
What makes a clear annual report?
If your report has these elements, the judges will give it the thumbs up.
- Main messages that are clear and obvious
- Clear, concise and jargon free
- Technical terms explained
- Figures presented in an easy-to-understand format
- Graphs, tables and photos that support main messages.
Enter your report for the 2018 Plain English Awards.
Meet last year’s winners
Posted In: 2018 Plain English Awards
2018 Plain English Awards, annual report, benchmark, plain English, recognition, stakeholders