Nix this: Executive Summary

How, exactly, is an “Executive Summary” different from, say, a “Summary”?

It’s an elitist holdover from the 60s, when we had executive washrooms, executive dining rooms and executive secretaries.

The idea is that a busy ‘executive’ has no time to read the whole dang document.  Just get to the nub of it.  Of course, those people further down the ladder don’t want to read all 67 pages, either.

So why dress the thing in white shirt and wingtips?

If it’s status we’re after, “executive” doesn’t do it. Not when you can rent “Prestigious Executive Offices” in any strip mall and buy “Executive Desks” at Staples for $89.50.

Instead, try these:

For a tweedy, academic air:  Abstract

For a euro/continental touch:  Précis

To suggest drama and intrigue:   Synopsis

For a legal, judicial flair:  Summation

Offhand and edgy:   The Gist

Or, just make the document so concise you don’t need a summary at all.