12. Summary, Conclusion and Appendix

Overview

In the final lesson of this course, I show you how to draft an executive summary, conclusion and what to include in an appendix.

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Summary

  1. Lesson Goal (00:06)

    The goal of this lesson is to learn how to add an executive summary, conclusion, and appendix to a PowerPoint presentation.

  2. Writing an Executive Summary (00:11)

    The executive summary can be straightforward to write. It should simply consist of all your action titles listed in order, bolding the sections you feel are important. In this way, the executive summary helps you ensure your MECE structure and action titles are correct. If the executive summary doesn’t read well, this can suggest that you need to make some changes to your presentation or your action titles.

    Unlike other slides, it can make sense to write the executive summary using paragraphs of text instead of bullet points. There should be one paragraph per issue, and each sub-issue should be covered by its action title within that paragraph.

  3. Writing a Conclusion (00:58)

    The conclusion should not simply summarize the information in the presentation. Instead, it should focus on providing a recommendation based on your analysis. This recommendation should incorporate insights from each issue in your presentation.

    A conclusion can also include a set of recommended next steps, so that your presentation leads to specific actions. However, this should not be included is your recommendation is likely to provoke debate and discussion about what to do next.

  4. Adding an Appendix (02:10)

    An appendix should generally be avoided, unless your company has specific policies requiring it. Flicking back and forth between an appendix and the main presentation can be difficult and time consuming. The appendix is often filled with valuable quantitative data. If this data is important enough to include in the presentation, then you should include it in the main body of the presentation itself.

Transcript

When wrapping up your presentation, the last three tasks you'll need to complete are the executive summary, the conclusion, and adding appendices. Let's start with the executive summary.

This is probably the easiest slide to create, because if you've done your action titles correctly you simply write them out exactly in order, bolding parts of the titles that you think are the most important. The executive summary acts as a great check on your MECE structure and your action titles.

If after creating the executive summary you find that the story doesn't flow as well as you'd hoped, you may need to recheck your presentation or your action titles to fix this problem. The executive summary is probably the only place in the document I would advocate not using bullets. On this page I tend to use paragraphs. One paragraph per issue and each sub issue covered by its action title within that paragraph.

The conclusion slide on the other hand is a little trickier. In the conclusion we do not summarize the information that has gone before. Instead, we synthesize the information and provide a recommendation based on our analysis. In our pharma example a synthesis could be as follows. We would recommend buying the target because the likely sale price is much lower than the combined intrinsic value plus synergies, providing an estimated rate of return of 22%. In addition, we don't see any major barriers to implementation that can delay or hold the transaction. The key word in this paragraph is "recommendation". We are not summarizing the information, we are recommending a specific action or actions based on the information that we've gathered. In addition, if the circumstances allow, you could also include a Recommended Next Steps section on this page so that there are concrete actions to be taken once the meeting is over.

One word of warning on including next steps. If your audience will want to deliberate on your recommendation at length after your meeting, including next steps may be jumping the gun a little. In this situation, you may be better off leaving out a Next Steps section. Lastly, we come to the appendix. Personally, I hate when presentations have an appendix because I need to flip back and forth between the slide and the appendix to find the data that I'm looking for. Often analysts will put a lot of valuable quantitative data in the appendix which is nearly always the most interesting part of the presentation. Unless there is a strict convention in your company for using an appendix, I would always try to incorporate all of my insights into the document itself. While it's often easier and quicker to stick large chunks of data into the appendix, it does the audience no favors and can create delays in the presentation from the constant flicking back and forth within the document.

PowerPoint Essentials
Creating Business Presentations

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