A summary is a short account that outlines or picks out the main points. A summary is done or performed quickly and without the usual attention to details or formalities. A summary is a brief or concise presentation. The need for a business summary arises in many ways:
i. A speaker may be asked to summarize the day’s proceedings in a business seminar.
ii. An advocate may be required to sum up his/her arguments in a court of law.
iii. The chairman of a committee may have o summarize the main points of the committee’s deliberations.
iv. A reviewer may have to present a brief summary of the contents of the book before making his/her comments.
v. A person making a presentation will have to sum up and conclude at the end.
People in business have no time to read lengthy reports, manuals, studies, etc., or sit through long speeches and presentations or attend long meetings or conference. Yet they need be informed about the subject.
This is particularly so at the managerial and executive levels.
Business communicator, therefore, needs to know how to present business summaries effectively. The summary, be it oral or written, should cover the main points or the essence of what has been covered in the original (which is more elaborate) communication. In order to make good summaries, the following essentials have to be noted:
i. Listen to the speaker attentively or study the written text carefully.
ii. Understand the main points that are covered by the speaker or writer.
iii. Identify the most essential points worth covering.
iv. Leave out details and formalities.
v. Learn to use clear and precise words.
vi. Avoid repetition.
vii. Ensure balance and proportion so that the summary does justice to the original.
viii. If the original communication contains summary sentences or paragraphs, make use of them.
Doing business summaries is an art that the communicator has to develop. If the summary doesn’t faithfully reflect the thoughts contained in the original, the reader or user of the summary may miss out on the essentials.