Tag Archives: abbreviations in executive summaries

Abbreviations in executive summaries

Reader’s question: Should you use abbreviations and acronyms in an executive summary?

My answer: As a general rule, do not use abbreviations or acronyms in an executive summary, but use your common sense. I would use an an acronym or abbreviation if it were more common than the full term or used several times.

As always, when you use an abbreviation or acronym, spell out the term in the first instance and put the abbreviation in brackets.

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If you use an abbreviation in the executive summary, you need to spell it out again the first time you use it in the body of a long report, but not in a short document, such as a board paper.

Question: Can you use subheadings in summaries?

Answer: Yes, subheadings are useful, especially in long summaries, to convey your messages. Keep them short and specific.

Question: Can you use bullet points in summaries?

Answer: A short summary may be entirely bullet points, especially in a noting paper. A decision paper and long summary will have a more narrative structure, but you can use bullet points to back up points.

Writing a good summary is one of the most difficult, but important, aspects of business writing. It’s worth taking time to make your summary memorable.

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