One of the most essential elements of a proposal is the executive summary. The reason why this part is very essential is that most readers will consider this part more than the rest since this is where the summary of the proposal can be found. The big role of executive summary makes writing this part is quite challenging. So, you need to follow the right steps to end up with a perfect executive summary.
Understanding the Purpose
If you want to successfully write an executive summary, then you should understand its purpose. Even if it is called as a summary, and it is indeed a summary, an executive summary is not a section where you should summarize the whole content of proposals in just a few paragraphs. Since you can’t make it long, but this part should be convincing, you need to put the most essential information, which is the benefits of your offerings. So, don’t put anything in the proposal that might not make the readers of the proposal interested. Provide some benefits of your offerings to give them reasons why you are worth to choose. Make this section persuasive, which is the main purpose of writing an executive summary. Provide some solutions for the clients’ problems to grab their attention. A successful executive summary is the one that can attract the reader’s interest so that they keep reading the rest of the proposal. So, make sure that this part is well-written, excellent, specific and persuasive.
Knowing the Right Time
Deciding the right time to write an executive summary is not easy since some sources inform it should be written last while some others ask you to write it first. When it is written last because this part is a strong section that should be well-written after working with the solutions and objectives in the proposals. By finishing the proposal first, you can gather important information and put it in the section properly. However, writing the section first is also a good idea because you can stick with the brainstorming process. Also, if you are working with some members, you need to first outline the executive summary to ensure that each member can be consistent throughout the writing process based on the outline. If in case there are some changes, you can just edit the executive summary later. If you write this section last, you might not properly finish it since you should run with the time of submitting the proposal. So just because you write it first doesn’t mean you have done it. Considering this is an essential part, you need to go back to this section several times just to ensure it best represents the proposal with the right information about the benefits of your offerings and provided solutions for the clients.
Learning the Content
An executive summary is short, so you should maximally use the limited page for grabbing the reader’s attention. Don’t wait until the next paragraphs to get their attention, but do it right away from the beginning. Focus on your clients by talking about the issues and results. Make them interested in your proposal once they read the first few lines of the executive summary. This section should also show the clients that you understand them. They can’t hire you when you don’t even know what they want. The proof to provide is by providing some solutions to their problems. To make the solutions more reliable, include your research related to the issues or your previous experiences dealing with the same problems. By providing such information, the clients can learn what benefits they can take from the solutions and what outcomes or results they can enjoy. When stating the solutions, don’t make them descriptive because further information can be found in the proposal. You can inform them some the overview, but convince them that your provided solutions can at least make them relieved. Work with the detail, but keep it simple. One more thing to provide is the reasons why your company is the best option. It might be your experiences, skills or anything that can make you outstanding among the other proposals.
What You Shouldn’t Do
To keep you on the right path, there are some things you shouldn’t do when writing the executive summary if you want it to be successful. Look at the name; it is called a summary, which means you can’t make it too long. One page is the best length. For a large proposal, two pages are the maximum length. However, if you are responding to an RFP, then you need to stick with the requirements in deciding how long the executive summary should be. Avoid using jargon the clients don’t understand. The purpose of a proposal is to communicate with the clients, so if you use unusual language, how re the clients supposed to understand what you are saying? You can’t use technical language as well if the readers are not people who will understand the terms. Also, don’t talk about the history of your company; this is not the right place to do that.