Phone: 609-683-8100

Executive Summary Writing Course

This course teaches participants to apply strategic planning to distill long and complex documents into succinct executive summaries, and transfer key concepts across documents. Class exercises are based fully on actual participant documents.

Executive summaries are not only required at the front of formal reports. An executive summary in business writing is really a synthesis statement of complex ideas that extracts the significant nuggets of information that are relevant to a particular reader and situation.

They are used widely in many communications at work, especially in analytical and management positions. This course hones the ability to think critically, synthesize complex information, and express it tightly in any business writing scenario.

The ability to see the big picture, to quickly understand what is significant to the situation, and extract and convey the relevant essence will greatly help your department, your company, and your career. It will also greatly improve the efficiency and accuracy of the information flowing across your company. 

  • The first portion of the course addresses process: how to write efficiently, target a reader, and elicit a desired business response in any writing situation, followed by recommended mapping tools for complex documents. (25%)
  • The second portion of the course offers rigorous group practice opportunity to enhance and repurpose actual participant business documents: email, reports, regulatatory submissions, or presentations. Participants complete group and individual planning and executive summary document exercises. (50%)
  • The third portion of the course presents strategies for language clarity. (25%)


Available online and onsite for groups.

Individuals consider executive business writing coaching.


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Courses and exercises that best match your company's needs.

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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 Outcomes

  • Apply an efficient process for planning and organizing information and ideas to multiple documents, especially white papers, PowerPoint presentations, reports, and email.
  • Distill complex ideas into succinct, coherent messages.
  • Be able to extract most relevant and important information from a document and repurpose it seamlessly into another medium (for example from an email presenting a proposed process to PowerPoint slides for an executive to convey that same concept widely)
  • Provide thorough practice opportunity to extract and hone executive summary information in actual work documents.
  • Use recommended tools for planning and repurposing information, and to enhance organizational information flow.
  • Ensure all documents elicit business objectives, engage readers, and support information flow.

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Course Instructors

mary cullen

Mary Cullen

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

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 Spencer

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.

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

Andrew Steinbeiser

B.A. in Communications & a B.A. in Journalism, both from Syracuse University

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

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.