March 18, 2020

Executive Summary – How to Avoid Mistakes

An executive summary is an abbreviated version of the executive summary that you use for the big accounts. It summarizes the main points of the whole report for a business report. It is usually shorter than the full executive summary and is intended to be an efficient way to summarize the key findings.

Even though the executive summary is shorter, it can still be an important part of your marketing material because of its brevity. The summary has more importance for smaller companies that need to get their main report in front of prospective customers quickly.

With that said, there are many reports that need to go through a technical editor before they are released to a client. This article provides some tips that can help your technical editor avoid making the errors that could have been avoided by first writing the summary.

To start with, writing the executive summary should begin with a short, succinct sentence describing the objective of the executive summary. This should be followed by a list of benefits of the main report and then a short description of the presentation style of the summary.

The summary should include only data that has been verified and endorsed by the publisher, as it relates to the business or organization and legal consent to be quoted from the report. The executive summary is also sometimes referred to as a “mixed format” report because of the fact that it includes some documents that are legal format.

If your summary includes images or charts, make sure that they are included within the legal document and not mixed into the summary. In addition, if the material you are citing comes from the same file as the document that forms the basis of the summary, make sure that the author of the summary is credited for the material.

Because summary is meant to be a brief summary of the major points of a document, make sure that the summary is concise and to the point. There is no reason to spend time explaining things that should have been made very clear to the reader.

Another tip that should apply to all editors’ perspective is to remember that it is always easier to fix one mistake than to find 20 different mistakes. It’s best to take the time to get your report corrected as soon as possible.

If your summary appears to be free of any errors, give the technical editor a chance to fix the errors that are flagged. You can always set up a follow-up meeting to fix your summary if you feel that the editor does not handle the situation properly.

Before writing the summary, it is important to have a header statement at the top of the document that tells the reader what it is about. For example, if you are writing an executive summary about how to build a new account, put a heading that says “How to Build a New Account” and the name of the organization in parentheses.

There are many technical editors that believe that a small part of a report is not worth the cost of having it corrected because of the cost of the correction. On the other hand, there are many editors who feel that a small part of a report may be worth the cost of getting it corrected so that a potential client can see the actual product for themselves.

If you are a technical editor, keep these tips in mind when writing an executive summary. It can help keep your job and future clients happy.

About Erica Austin