The executive summary of your document will determine whether your readers will decide to read the whole thing. It is, therefore, the most important part of any report. So if you’re writing an executive summary for a feasibility report or a business plan, you must avoid these five common mistakes:
Making the executive summary too long
This one’s obvious! Writing an executive summary that is too long can be counterproductive because it defeats the purpose of an executive summary, which is to provide a concise overview of the most important points in a report. An executive summary is supposed to give busy executives and decision-makers a quick snapshot of a report’s key findings, conclusions, and recommendations without requiring them to read the entire document.
If an executive summary is too long, it can become overwhelming and difficult to digest, defeating the purpose of providing a quick and easy overview. It may also cause the reader to lose interest or miss important information because they become bogged down in too much detail.
Moreover, executives and decision-makers have limited time, and a lengthy executive summary may not be read at all. So, when you write an executive summary next time, be sure to make it concise.
Not using the right tone
The tone of your executive summary is important. Too often, people use words that add ambiguity and make it difficult for the reader to understand what they’re trying to say. This can be avoided by not using industry-specific jargon and including words that are easy for anyone to understand.
If you’re writing an executive summary for a report about marketing strategies, don’t say “marketing strategy,” but rather something like: “The company should focus on expanding their brand awareness through social media posts.” The former will only confuse readers unfamiliar with the term; they’ll come away thinking you said are trying to cover up your weaknesses by using big words.
This doesn’t mean that all executives must be boiled down to the basics and explained in layman’s terms. Deciding the correct tone of your executive summary depends on your knowledge of your target audience. If you are writing a financial report that will be reviewed by professional bankers or data analysts, using industry specific jargon to condense complex ideas into smaller paragraphs is the way to go. But, generally speaking, executive summaries are supposed to target a wide audience, so perhaps the ultimate tone to use in an executive summary is simplified language.
Skipping important details of your business
Skipping important business details is a surefire way to lose the reader. You can’t assume that the reader knows what you do or that they’re familiar with your industry. It’s also important to note important information from each section to ensure you haven’t ignored any necessary details.
In addition, if there is a lot of jargon in your report, it’s best not to use it unless absolutely necessary, as this will only confuse readers and make them want to stop reading immediately due to confusion over what exactly has been said by an expert writer.
If you are writing a report for your own use, it’s important to note the important points you want to make in this document. You should be able to read through it and see whether or not what has been written makes sense or if any missing information needs adding. An easy hack for this is to skim over the document multiple times, making a list of important points each time and then reviewing the list to cut down any unnecessary points.
Lacking a proper paragraph structure
A good paragraph structure is crucial for the reader of your report. A paragraph should have a clear topic sentence that clearly states what you will talk about in that paragraph. Paragraphs should also have a clear conclusion and transition between topics so that readers can easily understand the direction of your writing.
As you write, you should be sure to use transitions between ideas or points of information. These can include words like “furthermore,” “however,” and “on the other hand.” If you are writing about several different topics, it is also important to make sure that each paragraph flows smoothly into the next one; this will help your reader follow along with what you are writing.
Furthermore, avoid discussing multiple topics in a paragraph. To keep your audience engaged, focus on one topic in a paragraph. This will add clarity to your writing and help you convey your ideas efficiently.
Narrative not tailored for the right audience
The executive summary of a report should be written in a way that is relevant to the audience. It should also be insightful so that readers can be educated about what it is and how it can help them. For example, suppose you are pitching your idea to a group of investors. In that case, they will be much more interested in the expected ROI of your business instead of what social impact your business will have on society.
Your executive summary has to be tailored to your target audience. Sometimes, it may be a wise decision to develop a different executive summary for a different group of audience. This is especially true for businesses with a strong social impact and a lucrative prospective ROI. In such cases, toning down one aspect of the business and highlighting the features the audience is most likely interested in is a perfect way to fully capitalize on the business’ potential.
We hope this article has given you some new insights into how to write an executive summary. If you need more guidance, be sure to drop us a message at email@example.com
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