How to Write an Executive Summary

How to Write an Executive Summary

© 2013 Laureate Education, Inc. 1

An executive summary provides an overview of the main points of an article, report, etc., and is often meant to persuade the reader. It allows the reader to become familiar with the content of the piece without having to read it in its entirety. The reader can then decide if the overview is sufficient or if he or she wants to read the entire piece to obtain more details about the topic. The executive summary is clear, concise, written in non- technical language, and is usually no more than 3 or 4 paragraphs. It could be longer if the article or report is lengthy, but it must be short enough to be read quickly while still conveying all major points. If there is a call to action, it should be clearly stated and likely included at the beginning of the executive summary.

Some suggestions to help you write a quality executive summary include:

• List all of the main points in the same order in which they occur in the paper that you are summarizing.

• Take each point and turn it into a sentence. • Add additional sentences to clarify or explain each point. • Add a short introduction and a short conclusion. Include the name of the article,

report, etc. and the author(s) in the introduction. • Check grammar, spelling, and punctuation. • Check for plagiarism. • Read the summary slowly and carefully to make sure it covers all of the main

points clearly, yet concisely. Also, check to be sure it is interesting. You want to catch your reader’s attention.

• Set it aside. Let some time pass, and read it again. Often, you will catch items that you did not see the first time.

• For academic writing, be sure to include appropriate citations and a reference. This is typically not part of a business executive summary, but should be included for purposes of this program.

Finally, turn it in to your boss, professor, etc. and relax knowing that you produced a quality executive summary of the requested paper!


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