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executive summaries

Give your Executive Summaries that wow factor with the Kipling’s 5W1H approach

“I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.”
Rudyard Kipling (1865 -1936)

What does a good Executive Summary look like?

It’s a summary so it is brief and concise, a maximum of ONE PAGE. The client’s Executive Team is too busy to read more than that. If they want more information they will call someone in – that’s what senior managers do!

And no photos. All they say is, “This is marketing stuff, ignore it.” And certainly no smiley close-ups of your Managing Director. They shout out, “Warning! This is just a lot of clichés about us.”

Why an Executive Summary?

The Executive Summary should cover the business level issues. Without a proper Executive Summary, there is nothing in your bid for the client’s Executive Team.

Your bid may be technically competent and professionally executed, but it will not engage the client’s Executive Team. And if you don’t engage them at a business level, the only thing left for them to think about is the money.

When? Write it early on.

It is too important to leave it to the end.
Ok, it will need some editing to reflect the changes as your technical bid is developed. But it’s about the client’s issues not your solutions, so if it needs major reworking you’ve missed the point.


Winning Bid Master Class has proven strategy tools, structures and templates to guide you through the design and writing of brilliant Executive Summaries.


The location of the Executive Summary within the document is critical to get maximum impact.
In particular its relationship to the contents page is a major factor in the overall effectiveness of the submission.

Who is the Executive Summary for?

It’s obvious – the client’s Executive Team. Put yourself in their position. They have to deliver a vision and set of business objectives. Does your Executive Summary address these?

And what keeps the client’s Executive Team awake at night? What can most damage their reputation with their bosses and peers? Have you addressed these issues as well?

Finally the client’s Executive Team are focused on their customers, your customer’s customers! Have you explained how you will enable the client’s Executive Team to provide a better – however they define better – service to their customers?

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