One thing the corporate world does not need is more paperwork. Busy executives are already overwhelmed with emails, reports, documents, Powerpoint presentations. And on and on it goes.

How can you possibly get your proposal heard – let alone approved – in the midst of all this noise?

The solution? Good communication. If you want to persuade the decision-makers, you need to be able to structure your argument clearly and succinctly.

That means being able to write in a concise, persuasive way and to make your case in a well-presented executive summary.

Executive summaries are not summaries

But don’t be misled by the word ‘summary’. Executive summaries are not summaries; they are much more than that. They should tell the board what needs to be done and why it needs to be done.

As CEO of brand communications consultancy Clear Eye, Margaret E. Ward sees this up close with clients. “Board members and senior executives are busy people who need to assess information quickly so they can make well-informed decisions in a timely manner. When they’re presented with long, vague, poorly constructed documents, it hampers the decision-making process and may cost the company time and money.”

Here’s what you need to do to persuade the decision-makers:

Identify the problem. Spell out the problem in a way that makes it very clear why this is a real problem and why something needs to be done about it.

Outline a solution and say why it is good value. Tell the board what’s in it for the company and try to quantify the benefits. Put your findings in a ‘At a glance’ box, so that the results are visible and easily read.

Having difficulty distilling your message?

Clear Eye is a global brand communications company based in Dublin that helps individuals and companies master the art of clear writing and speaking. If you need help, get in touch with Margaret now at