Practicing Five Points of STARR

Lunch Meeting In our Get Results: Business Writing that Drives Action webinar, we discuss a reporting tool called STARR. STARR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Results, and Recommendations. You can memorize the five STARR points and use them to instantly organize your thoughts in order to report information to someone in a clear and concise manner. This tool is especially helpful if someone puts you on the spot for a response.

Situation – Start with a brief sentence to set the stage and explain the situation.

  • Here is the situation...
  • This is what was going on...

Task – Explain what you were asked to do—your specific task.

  • I was asked to…
  • I need to…

Action Be as specific as you want to be and explain what you did or are going to do to complete the task.

  •  I did…
  • I plan to…

Results – Describe what happened based on the action you took. It can be statistics, quantities, and/or positive things that happened based on your actions.

  • What happened was…
  • As a result…
  • Because of my actions…

Recommendation – Explain what you want to do and why. Or if you are looking for suggestions, ask a question.

  • I think we…
  • I propose…
  • What do you think about…?

Examples:

You can use STARR to suggest a new idea to a co-worker

When a colleague asked me “What did you teach and how did your class go?” I incorporated the STARR model:

SInfluencing without Authority, class had six people

T – Student asked a new question about negotiation

A – I pulled a new resource

R – The students really liked the resource

R – Try using it next time. I’ll send you the link

After organizing my thoughts with STARR, my response was:

I had six people in the Influencing without Authority class today. A student asked me a question about negotiation and I talked about a podcast that was recommended to me: Slate’s Negotiation Academy. I played part of it in class and the students really enjoyed it. I've saved it to the resources file in case anyone wants to use it for the next time they teach this class.

Or how about using STARR in response to a conversation starter?

Friend asks, “What’s going on with you?”

S – Planning a birthday party for my sister

T – Her wishes are for a low key party and cake from her favorite bakery

A – I ordered the cake and found place to have the party

R –The cake was a hit—the party location was not what my sister had in mind

R – Next year, cake from same bakery but party at my house since that is what my sister really wanted

My response after incorporating the STARR method would be:

I've been busy planning a birthday party for my sister. She asked for the party to be low key and mentioned she’s looking forward to a cake from her favorite bakery. I ordered the cake and found a good party spot. The cake turned out to be a big hit but my sister did mention that she would have liked to have the party at my house. Next year I will throw her birthday party at my house but definitely order the cake from the same bakery.

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Well, you get the idea. STARR is not just a business tool. It’s a way of structuring many types of reports. And with practice, this will become a natural way to structure your part of a conversation. Take STARR to your next dinner party and try it out on your friends!

For this and other business writing tools, join our webinar Get Results: Business Writing that Drives Action.

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Angella Bernal pic

Angella Bernal is a Professional Development instructor at Learn iT!. She believes that students learn best through the practical application of technology applied to real-life situations. She achieves this by allowing student questions to guide the class to areas relevant to their environment, thus allowing for the quickest and easiest adaptation of new technology and skills.