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Abstract vs Executive Summary

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FREE RFP Letters ToolkitAlso known as: abstract vs executive summary dilemma, difference between executive summary and abstract, executive summary versus abstract, executive summary vs abstract, summary vs abstract, abstract summary vs executive summary, abstract vs. executive summary dilemma, summary vs. abstract, difference between an executive summary and an abstract, synopsis vs summary, abstract summary, executive summary, abstract vs executive summary battle, or abstract vs executive overview.

In this page, you will find:

  1. the terms abstract vs executive summary defined;
  2. the main differences between abstract vs executive summary presented side-by-side;
  3. tips on how to write an executive summary revealed;
  4. top books discoursing about the place of the executive summary in writing persuasive business proposals referenced; and, finally
  5. "Give me a place to stand and a long enough lever, and I will move the Earth".
    - Archimedes
    some uncommon web resources recommended.

My 100% guaranty: Here are both the place and the lever allowing you to move your world. So, you won't leave this page without new ideas, enthusiasm, and eagerness to start writing your own executive summary.

Abstract vs Executive Summary, Definitions

Abstract Definition
An Abstract is an abbreviated summary of a research article, thesis, review, conference proceeding or any in-depth analysis of a particular subject or discipline, and is often used to help the reader quickly ascertain the paper's purpose.

When used, an abstract always appears at the beginning of a manuscript, acting as the point-of-entry for any given scientific paper or patent application. (Wikipedia)

Executive Summary Definition
An Executive Summary is, basically, anything but a product presentation, and nothing but a persuasive sales pitch. Far more than an abstract merely presenting the rest of the document, it's your unique opportunity to convince the reader that your proposal provides the best value proposition: the best benefit at the lowest cost.

The more technical your proposal, the more critical the executive summary is likely to be, because, unlike the abstract, the executive summary forbids technicalities to instead concentrate on substantiating the benefits for the customer.

Common misspellings: excutive summary, exective summary, execitive summary, eccutive summary, managment summary, executive sumary, executive summry, or eecutive summary.

Are executive summary and abstract the same?

If you think so, you have just lost your chance to persuade first hand.

Make your unique selling point (USP) from your executive summary.

Abstract vs Executive Summary: 
The Dilemma

This is the "executive summary vs abstract summary" battle. All so-called experts say that you should write the executive summary when the rest of your proposal is written. Because this part is called the summary of the whole document, logic dictates that you should write the document first in order to be able to summarize it.

There is a significant difference between an executive summary and an abstract.

You said Executive Summary, not Abstract

And that's exactly the pitfall to avoid when writing an executive summary for your proposal: the executive summary is not an abstract. We may even say, paradoxically, that the executive summary, unlike the abstract, is not a summary, it's your value proposition, your best, unique opportunity to sell your solution!

Abstract vs Executive Summary, Differences

These are the differences between Abstract vs Executive Summary:

  Abstract Executive Summary
Nature Abbreviated summary. Unique selling point (USP).
Audience Specialized (researchers), or mere readers. Decision makers,
e.g. corporate managers.
Scope Informational, academic, administrative, and other general documents (thesis, articles, patents). Solicited or unsolicited sales proposals and bids (P&B).

Job résumés fit in this case!
Purpose Give information.
Ascertain the purpose of the whole document, give an overview or preview of its content.
Call for action.
Persuade readers to buy on the recommended solution addressing the problem, namely, make your unique selling point (USP).
Content Mainly technical:
  1. Present the problem and scope;
  2. Expose the used methodology;
  3. Report observations and results;
  4. Draw conclusions and recommendations.
Mainly managerial (The 4 rules of persuasion):
  1. State outcomes and benefits;
  2. Substantiate benefits with proofs of concept;
  3. Apply benefits to the reader's particular; context (win themes);
  4. Recommend a solution to address the problem.
Length Short.
Shorter than the executive summary.
Longer than the abstract.
Style Technical, static, and more academic. Managerial, dynamic, and more enthusiastic.
Shhh...I'll tell you a secret. You'll never believe me. Since I have advised all my friends, relatives, and other acquaintances to write their résumé and, most importantly, their résumé cover letter like if it were an executive summary, this led, so far, in 93% of the cases to a phone call from the employer. Amazing!

As revealed by the side-by-side comparison above, the key difference between an abstract and an executive summary resides on their antipodal purpose, and consequently on the format used to achieve this goal.

Indeed, while the abstract aims at convincing the reader to go through the whole document in order to quash his thirst of information, the executive summary, at the opposite, aims at persuading the reader, who is supposed to be a decision maker, to take of forgo an action, whether usually buying a product, or approving another action.

How to Write an Executive Summary?

Having understood the differences between abstract vs executive summary, you now want to write your executive summary. To do so, read the discussion How to write an Executive Summary that will help you identify the needed information for laying down your value proposition through the use of win themes. You can write your own executive summary following the proven S.P.A. rule, which is unveiled in the executive summary template.

Abstract vs Executive Summary, Top Books

  1. Persuasive Business Proposals
    by Tom Sant
    224 pages
    ISBN: 0814471536

    In a business climate marked by increased competition, tight budgets and stiffer regulations, your prospective clients are more intent than ever on making smart vendor choices. Before they'll give you that contract, you've got to prove to them that your firm represents their best, or only option.

    Abstract vs executive summary:
    There is a section dedicated to the executive summary, which addresses the abstract vs executive summary dilemma by providing differences between abstract vs executive summary, between research abstract, abstract in proposals for grant and executive summary. Indeed, discover how the abstract for research proposals is roughly the equivalent of the executive summary in sales proposals. Checklists, questions, and directions are provided on how to write an executive summary. Plus, at the end of the book, a whole section is dedicated to style, grammar, and common errors, which is invaluable to better write an executive summary.

    Read more about
    :Persuasive Business Proposals
  2. The Consultant's Guide to Proposal Writing: How to Satisfy Your Clients and Double Your Income
    by Herman Holtz
    320 pages
    ISBN: 0471249173

    When clients make the decision to hire you, they are putting more than money on the line. They are also putting their company's future and its reputation in your hands. That's why your success depends on your ability to gain prospective clients' complete confidence, not only in the solutions you offer, but in you -your capabilities and character.

    Abstract vs executive summary:

    The Consultant's Guide to Proposal Writing dedicates 7% of the total pages to the executive summary:
    • What is an Executive Summary?
    • Uses of an executive Summary
    • Relevant principles in writing an executive summary
    • An executive summary case history
    • How long should an executive summary be?
    • How to write tight executive summaries
    • Executive summary in a letter proposal
    The book does not present the differences between abstract vs executive summary but is a very valuable resource on how to write an executive summary.

    Read more about: The Consultant's Guide to Proposal Writing
  3. Handbook For Writing Proposals
    by L. Sue Baugh, Robert J. Hamper
    224 pages
    ISBN: 0844232742

    In this easy-to-use, concise, and thorough handbook, two veteran business professionals guide you through the entire proposal-writing process, from the initial contact through completion and follow-up.

    You'll benefit from the authors' expertise and insight on:

    • Which jobs to target-and which to pass up
    • Setting up a strong proposal team
    • Evaluating potential projects
    • Preparing schedules and identifying tasks
    • Writing and producing a first-rate proposal
    • Delivering a show-stopping client presentation

    Abstract vs executive summary:
    Unlike other books, there are 20 pages dedicated to the executive summary, that is 10% of the book, which gives more information to address the abstract vs executive summary dilemma:

    • Who reads the executive summary?
    • Executive summary outline
    • Differences between abstract vs executive summary
    • Time/cost analysis and executive summary
    • The corporate profile in the executive summary
    • Common errors and how to write an executive summary
    • Executive summary checklist

    Lots of tips are provided on how to write an executive summary.

    Read more about: Handbook For Writing Proposals 

Abstract vs Executive Summary, Web Resources

The Art of the Executive Summary
by Guy Kawasaki (You really have to know Guy Kawasaki and read his books).
Noise and Elimination of the Nonessential
by Presentation Zen
Bill Gates' Executive Speeches and Keynotes
by Bill Gates
Informative Abstract vs Executive Summary
by The University of Western Ontario
Collection of Articles on How to Write Abstracts vs Executive Summaries
by UK-Student.net
Read the Report that software vendors don't want you to know about

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