Executive Summary Writing Course


Executive summaries drive business decisions. Busy professionals rely on these summaries to provide the most essential information and to understand the value a report holds. These are short but all-encompassing texts that allow quick dissemination of important information.

Our Executive Summary Writing Course combines our industry communication experience with a tested process for summary development. This course, offered both online and onsite, allows you to understand the elements of an executive summary, the preparation needed for successful writing, and guided practice with real business documents.

Download the full course outline here

Why Great Executive Summaries Are Essential

While they are quick to read, they are not quick to write. Business writers must distill complex information into the most essential and actionable items that are relevant to the reader. Understanding, prioritizing, and summarizing large amounts of content are skills that must be learned and practiced.

Executive summaries are most commonly found in analytic and management positions where individuals have to consume and act upon significant amounts of information. They can also be found in many fields, as the skill of summarizing significant information into a brief text is highly useful in a range of business areas.

The Value: For Individuals

Given their important role in business communication, writing effective executive summaries is a highly prized skill. Executives and managers can quickly recognize a clearly worded summary, and appreciate the clarity of the abbreviated version. It is much more challenging to write shorter than longer. This fact makes the challenge of the executive summary even greater. Therefore, when they are well-written, its value is apparent to managers.

If you are looking to further your career, hone your business writing skills, particularly executive summary writing. It is an excellent career investment.

The Value: For Employers

Developing your employees’ business communication skills improves communication flow within your organization. If your company relies on executive summaries to communicate information between departments and management levels, then you understand the importance of receiving clearly extracted information.

While employees can be experts in their area, being able to communicate the content in a summarized and prioritized way is often not a co-occurring skill. This course provides your employees with the toolkit to distill and direct their expertise.

Improved executive summaries will improve the transfer of information through your company. This shift in communication will increase productivity and eliminate misunderstandings which can lead to costly mistakes.

Online and Onsite Options

For Individuals

For individuals, Instructional Solutions offers an engaging online learning environment. You can complete the course at your own pace, with guidance from our highly experienced instructors. Practical exercises receive direct feedback to develop directly applicable writing skills.

For Groups

For groups, we offer both online and onsite options. Our online classes allow groups to work independently at their convenience with instructor feedback. Our onsite courses bring our excellent instructors to your location. Learn more about our onsite courses here.

Course Certificate


After completing the course, you will earn a personalized certificate. You can display your certificate in the certification section of your LinkedIn profile, download to print, or mention in your résumé.

Learn from Top Communication Educators

You will be learning with educators who understand the importance and the process of succinct business communication. Our instructors are selected for their strong educational and communication credentials, with a minimum standard of college-level experience teaching business writing. Their role, both in the training and in the online materials, is to support your learning using hands-on, real-world examples and documents.

Executive Summary Course Outline

Part One: Process [25%]

The course opens with the basics of how to write effectively. In order to summarize well, a business writer needs to have a strong understanding of what the target reader needs as well as the document purpose. This writing process will ensure your writing elicits the desired business response.

Our teaching staff also provide recommendations for tools for planning complex documents.

Part Two: Practice [50%]

Great writing requires practice. You will develop your writing skills through guided exercises with our staff. Our course uses real industry documents to hone the skills you need for your field. You can use your own documents to rework, enhance, and repurpose. These documents may include reports, regulatory submissions, or presentations. Both executive summary planning and writing exercises are completed in both by individuals and groups.

Part Three: Clarity [25%]

Clarity is crucial but challenging in executive summaries. The presented information must be complete, while not being too dense nor too vague. It is a fine balance which can be developed with the help of practice and targeted strategies. In this section, you will learn the tested tools to eliminate bloat.

Download the full course outline here

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Train Your Entire Team

We offer customized report writing courses and exercises that match your company's needs. Click below to schedule a discussion.

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Or, call us at 1-609-683-8100

Individual Enrollment – $795
Sign up today and start learning how to write better executive summaries.

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Recent Executive Summary Class Testimonials

I just wanted to thank you again for helping me gain clarity in my business writing, helping me put together my first executive summary, and for all the tips on managing all the information I gather on a daily basis. This course was invaluable. Any other course you offer here at USAA I’d attend and I’d recommend those I’ve taken to anyone wanting to improve their business communication. Thank you! 

Business Analyst

Great instructor who was extremely knowledgeable. She made complex executive summaries seem very easy and the tips she provided can be easily implemented. Excellent class!


Key Executive Summary Writing Skills You Will Learn

  • Apply an efficient process for planning and organizing complex information and ideas. This tested process is applicable across multiple documents, especially white papers, PowerPoint presentations, reports, and email.
  • Extract most relevant and important information from a document and repurpose it seamlessly into another medium. For example, you will be able to transform an email presenting a proposed process into executive-level PowerPoint slides to convey that same concept widely.
  • Thorough practice on actual work documents to extract and hone executive summary information.
  • Ensure all documents elicit business objectives, engage readers, and support information flow.
  • Understand and apply recommended tools for planning and repurposing information, and to enhance organizational information flow.
  • Distill complex ideas into succinct, coherent messages matched to business goals.

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Download the full course outline.



Course Instructors

Mary Cullen

Mary Cullen

C.A.G.S in Composition and Rhetoric from the University of New Hampshire and M.A. in English Literature from Boston College

Mary founded Instructional Solutions in 1998, and is an internationally recognized business writing trainer and executive writing coach with two decades of experience helping thousands of individuals and businesses master the strategic skill of business writing. She excels at designing customized business writing training programs to maximize productivity, advance business objectives, and convey complex information.

Mary leads the project management and instructional design on customized courses. She also personally teaches the first courses launched for a client, and trains the instructors who lead ongoing training.

She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Rhode Island, a M.A. in English Literature from Boston College, and a C.A.G.S. in Composition and Rhetoric from the University of New Hampshire.

She lives in Princeton, New Jersey where she enjoys yoga, running, cooking, tinkering with new technologies, and most especially her family. 


Katie Almeida Spencer

M.A. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Massachusetts Boston

Katie is an experienced English as a Second Language instructor, tutor, and teacher trainer. She is currently teaching Business Communication and Academic Writing at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

She is very skilled at evaluating both the substance and language of business documents. Her writing critiques and instruction have received stellar evaluations from our clients at DuPont, Liberty Mutual, and Greenwood Resources.

She holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Rhode Island and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Areas of expertise include business writing, English as a second language, and writing as a second language.

She loves to travel, has intermediate level Spanish skills, and is working on her French for her next trip. She lives in Boston when she is not traveling.


Andrew Steinbeiser

B.A. in Communications & Rhetorical Studies and a B.A. in Journalism
Andrew Steinbeiser is a freelance journalist and writer who reports on the arts and entertainment industries. He previously worked at Marvel Entertainment on marketing and communications projects. Additionally, Andrew has worked as a tutor for Syracuse University’s renowned writing center, helping students draft and edit essays, reports, and more.

He holds a B.A. in Communications & Rhetorical Studies and a B.A. in Journalism, both from Syracuse University.

Despite growing up near Portland, Maine, he currently lives in Portland, Oregon. When he’s not writing, he enjoys running, hiking, and reading comic books.
Tom Dupuis Headshot

Tom Dupuis

B.A. in Business Administration and English from Reed College

Tom specializes in technical writing and is particularly interested in analytical and financial writing, as well as synthesizing strong executive summaries.

He currently teaches Business Communication at Rutgers University.

He holds a B.A. in Business Administration and English from Reed College, and a M.A. in Communications from the University of Colorado. He has successfully supported our clients from Boeing, FedEx, and the US Army.

He loves hiking, gardening, the power of language, and lives in the nature of the Hudson Valley, outside of New York City.