Our dear friend Sheilagh Douglas-Hamilton is one of those rare folks whose career has straddled senior roles in both purchasing and proposals, with great success. She’s been back in the world of procurement for the past few years, but we still end up debating proposal issues together on a regular basis.
One recent discussion concerned the role of the Executive Summary. Sheilagh fired the following across to me the following day by email, and was happy for me to share it here:
The purpose of an Exec Summary? To blow me away so I can say, “Yes! Yes! Yes! They really do understand my business and what I want!”
And here are Sheilagh’s views on the characteristics of a successful Executive Summary:
1. Beautifully written
2. Nice language – no mistakes please
3. Clear concise and compelling
4. Tells a story
5. Is short and punchy
6. Makes no more than three pitches
7. Makes me want to read the rest of the document to find out more
8. Doesn’t contradict the main body of the text!