I recently heard the song “The Walk of Life” by Dire Straits. This song has, in my opinion, a wonderful intro. And as I listened to this intro, I started thinking about intros within proposals – both as part of an executive summary, to individual sections and within responses to specific questions.
The intro to this song, like any great musical intro, does several things: It introduces the key signature (E Major), the chord progression (in this case E A B A B E if I have it right. [No doubt Jeff E, Robin or another of our readers who happens to be an accomplished musician will let me know if I have this wrong.]) and the chorus. And it repeats all of these several times.
In this case, the intro truly made me eager to hear more (this might have been influenced by my knowing the song!*)
Overall, the intro gives the listener a taste of what is to come and makes them want to hear more.
And isn’t this what the introduction to an Executive Summary should do? Set the tone, give a flavor of how the information will be presented and make the reader want to continue reading?
Give a “listen” to the intro to your Executive Summary and see if it “catches your ear”.
*I think familiarity plays are a big part in proposals as well. Clients who know you well and to whom you’ve previously presented proposals will have an expectation as to what they will “hear” from you.