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I am writing up a business plan to present to the chief executive officer at my facility. Do you have any advice for writing an executive summary?

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When writing the executive summary—or any presentation for that matter—learn who your audience is before you begin. Be sure to mold the presentation to your audience’s needs and desires. If you are speaking to the chief executive officer, make sure your presentation solves a problem that directly affects the hospital’s bottom line or addresses specific regulations, such as those mandated by The Joint Commission (formerly JCAHO) or the state.

Other things to factor into your presentation are relativity and timing. In other words, if your hospital chose to close its obstetrics business, then writing a business plan for an obstetrics clinic would be a waste of everyone’s time, plus you’d seem uninformed about the hospital. Timing is also important. For example, if you are requesting money, be sure your request does not follow closely on the heels of layoffs or after the executives just revealed less than satisfactory financial statements to staff.

KT Waxman, DNP, MBA, RN, CNL, president of Waxman & Associates healthcare consultants in San Ramon, CA

(May 2009)