I’m sharing this because there’s an important marketing lesson from the January 6 Committee’s Executive Summary released on Monday.

At 154 pages long, that document can hardly be called an Executive Summary – yet there it is. Actually, there are 50 pages of footnotes, so the final count is 104 pages, with 11 headings describing each section. The full report will be released this week and will include emails, cell phone data, testimony, and other critical documents available.

This morning, while discussing the summary on television, Jeh Johnson, the former Secretary of Homeland Security and now at Paul Weiss, said, “I know from authoring government reports myself I know that probably 95% of the people who read government reports only read the Executive Summary.”

A man after my own heart!

The next time you are asked to create an Executive Summary:

✅ Assume your audience is super busy.
✅ Offer the most critical/top-line information on the first page.
✅ Make your points quickly.
✅ Take advantage of bulleted lists and subheads. They are your friends and are especially helpful in replacing long-winded sentences.
✅ When presenting fees, use bold text early in the summary. (Busy people often ignore the entire document and often flip through to the last page in search of the price!)

If you’re a lawyer, this approach can also be applied to your firm’s practice area descriptions and bio, plus these additional recommendations:

✅ Edit judiciously (Less really is more!)
✅ Lose the lawyer IRAC framework. Your practice description and bio should be engaging.

Who’s with me?

 

Written by : Nancy Slome

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