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Lesson 4. The Opening Is the "Bottom Line" > What's in the Overview? - Pg. 15

The Opening Is the "Bottom Line" 15 · If the reader doesn't need the information you're presenting, she may set the document aside without wasting further time on it. · If the reader doesn't need the information now, but may need it at a later date, she may file the document for later retrieval. · If the reader must act on or react to the information, she knows she must read the document now. She knows exactly what she is expected to do once she has read it. Tip To write a good overview, imagine that you have only ten seconds of your readers' time to convey as much important information as possible on the subject you're writing about. What do you tell them in that 10 seconds? What's in the Overview? There are several key elements to the overview that you should include: · A simple statement of purpose--why you're writing the document (to summarize a meeting, to recommend a course of action, and so on). · What you want from the reader--what you hope or expect the reader will do. · Your opinion or point of view on the information being presented--what you've learned based on this information that the reader needs to know. Caution An overview that goes on for six or seven sentences-- or contains several thoughts in each of three or four sentences--has too much information in it. You can probably move much