How to Write an Executive Summary

How to Write an Executive Summary

HOW TO WRITE AN EXECUTIVE SUMMARY CoB Center for Professional Communication 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 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. 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. The Seven Step Creation Process

1. 2. 3. 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. The Seven Step Creation Process

4. 5. 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. The Seven Step Creation Process 6. 7.

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. Executive Summary Structure Executive Summary The environment in which the automobile industry operates is continuously evolving. Perhaps no one knows this better than Ford Motor Company. Until recently, Ford was able to operate with a fundamentally flawed business structure; however, its failure to reconcile weaknesses was highlighted because of increased competition and gas prices. Going forward, Ford needs to focus on strengthening its fundamentals and streamlining its business processes, as well as developing technology to better

serve the growing demand for greater fuel economy. Problems Facing Ford The fundamentals that Ford failed to execute include managing costs, maintaining good supplier relations, utilizing internal resources, and planning for the future. In 2006, Ford spent $3.5 billion on insurance benefits for 570,000 current and past employees, adding $1200 to the ticket price of each car. Rather than striving for a mutually beneficial relationship with its suppliers, Ford takes the crush their bones approach, forcing unrealistic price reductions that squeeze the suppliers, often driving them into bankruptcy. This approach is detrimental because Fords high expectations can lead to lower quality goods as suppliers try to meet Fords requirements. Until 2006, Ford was structured so that each regional unit operated autonomously. This breakdown of communication made business inefficient.

The unprecedented growth in models vying for customers in the U.S. has ended the Big Three as we know it. In 2002, there were 215 models and a 50 percent increase is expected by the decades end. Title Intro Paragraph Statement of main topic and explanation Recommendations for Ford It is necessary to develop a set of best practices and capitalize on opportunities for future growth by doing the following: Adopt an open book management approach when negotiating with unions and employees to

reduce its employee health care and pension costs. Benchmark Toyotas supplier relations and production line efficiency. Capitalize on its reputation as Americas number one selling truck for the past 31 years, by incorporating hybrid technology into its light truck segment. Statement of main topic and explanation Conclusion Fords fundamental weaknesses include cost management, supplier relations, utilization of internal resources, and planning for the future. To address these problems, Ford needs to adopt an open book management approach, develop a set of best practices that parallels the business processes of efficient industry players, and become the number one producer of hybrids in the light truck segment. Concluding Paragraph A few tips-

The Executive Summary is all about getting critical information into a bosss 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.

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. HOW TO WRITE AN EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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