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How to Write an Executive Summary

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1 How to Write an Executive Summary
CoB Center for Professional Communication

2 What Is an Executive Summary?
An executive summary previews the main points of an in-depth report It is written for nontechnical people who don't have time to read the main report It contains enough information for a reader to get familiarized with what is discussed in the full report without having to read it

3 What an Executive Summary Should Do
Provide an overview of another document or presentation with a clear enough understanding that the reader may make a decision based only on the Executive Summary. It can stand alone, if necessary, in conveying key points and conclusions.

4 How would I go about writing an Executive Summary?
Be familiar with the entire original document. Capture the purpose and the main recommendation(s) in one or two sentences. Provide key evidence (usually a short paragraph for each major point) as quickly and directly as possible. Follow the order of the original. Close with a brief summary and reiteration of the main idea.

5 The Seven Step Creation Process
Plan to create a summary each time you write a business report exceeding four pages. Write the summary after you write the main report, and make sure it is no more than 1/10 the length of the main report. List the main points the summary will cover in the same order they appear in the main report. Write a simple declarative sentence for each of the main points.

6 The Seven Step Creation Process
Add supporting or explanatory sentences as needed, avoiding unnecessary technical material and jargon. Read the summary slowly and critically, making sure it conveys your purpose, message and key recommendations. You want readers to be able to skim the summary without missing the point of the main report.

7 The Seven Step Creation Process
Check for errors of style, spelling, grammar and punctuation. Ask a fellow writer to proofread and edit the document. Ask a nontechnical person to read the document. If it confuses or bores them, the summary probably will have the same effect on other nontechnical readers.

8 Executive Summary Structure
Title Intro Paragraph Statement of main topic and explanation Statement of main topic and explanation Concluding Paragraph

9 A few tips-- The Executive Summary is all about getting critical information into a boss’s hands so s/he can make a decision. Keep it short and as complete as possible. Keep your main points in mind as you write the summary. You do not need to include every point in the summary, but ensure that the major ideas are covered succinctly. No need to cite references, but if you are summarizing another work, introduce the document in the opening paragraph. Provide enough reference information for your reader to easily find the original document.

10 Remember-- The most important outcome of an Executive Summary is that the reader would be able to make a decision based exclusively on the information presented in the Executive Summary.

11 How to Write an Executive Summary

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