How to Summarize a Presentation: 5 Easy Steps


Different people have varying needs for summaries. For a student, summaries are a great way to keep notes. They help them during their exam preparations.

In businesses, summaries are often required during executive meetings. Any kind of report, plan, or strategy could require an executive summary. This is also where summarizing presentations is required. In businesses, presentations are much more valuable and time-saving than a simple article or paper.  

The reason presentations are used is that they can, paired with images and graphs, effectively utilize the least amount of text. However, even these need to be summarized frequently because the executives do not have a lot of time to go through an entire presentation.In this post, we will check out some ways to summarize presentations.

Using a Tool

Not all people have the time to manually summarize a presentation. Businessmen, in general, are always short on time especially when they belong to large corporations. 

They can use summarizing tools to generate succinct summaries of presentations or plans/strategies. 

Summarizing tools are widely available on the internet. And a lot of them are free to use. A great text summarizer can summarize your content in the shortest possible time using the number of words you like.  Some summarizers come with the option of condensing the source material into a paragraph or a series of bullet points. Since there are a lot of tools to pick from, you can try out a few and use the ones that suit your needs best.

By Hand/Manually

Read and Understand the Presentation

Summarizing is quite similar to rewriting, so some steps are rather alike to how you would begin to rewrite something. The first of these steps is reading the source material. 

Reading and understanding the presentation are necessary for you to effectively summarize it. If you do not understand what the message of the source is, you cannot properly summarize it. That is because you will miss a crucial point in your summary due to the lack of understanding. 

Hence, you should read and reread the source until you can comfortably say that you understand the material.

Segment the Material into Sections

Now, presentations usually do not deal with just a single topic. That is especially the case in business presentations. They may be dealing with multiple topics such as forecasts for the next quarter, reports of the previous quarter, current plans, and strategies etc. 

Each section deals with something different. If the source material is indeed already divided into multiple sections like this, that makes this step easier. You can use the same sections during your summary. However, if there are no discernable sections then you need to create segments yourself. 

Each segment should be dealing with one particular sub-topic. This will make it easier for you to summarize the entire thing. Summarizing each section individually is much easier than summarizing the entire text at once.

Identify Key Points

Now that sections dealing with each sub-topic have been created, the next step is to identify the key points.  

Each section will have different key points. When we say “identify” them, we mean to say what is the message or point that that section is trying to create or prove. 
Recognizing this point is the key to summarizing. The key points must be present in the summary for it to be correct. 

Once the key points are extracted from the source, you can move ahead to the next step.

Write the Summary

This is the step in which you write the summary itself.
You have divided the source material into sections and extracted the main points from each section. 

Now use those points to write down the summary of each section individually in your own words. At this stage, the only thing you need to be careful about is to write the key points using as less words as possible. 

What you do not have to worry about is the overall length of the summary. Just focus on each section first. This is not the final step, and the summary you will write during this step will be revised multiple times. 

So before worrying about whether you write the summary well or not, just focus on writing one and finishing it. 

Compare to the Original and Revise

Once you have written your summary, compare it to the source. Does the summary encapsulate everything the source was trying to say? Have you left anything out? Have some points been misconstrued or reworded poorly? 

Keep an eye out for such things and make edits where necessary. The summary may need to be revised multiple times before you are satisfied with it. 

The summary should be overall no larger than ten percent of the source material. So, you may need to shave off a little bit of text from under each section to meet that limit. 

Just make sure that you are only shaving unimportant words/sentences rather than important ones. 

You can compare your summary with a summary obtained from a summary tool to see how good or bad it is and where you can improve it.


Summarizing can be a difficult task depending on what kind of topic is being talked about or who is doing the summarizing. Some people have a way with words and they are naturally able to say things in a concise manner, while others have to learn how to do so.

Summarizing is a skill that is required in presentations and speeches. These are both mediums using which information and possibly new concepts are provided to the audience. At the end of both, a summary is required to nicely round up the entire topic. Using summarizing tools is an easier way as compared to manually writing a summary since they save a lot of time and effort.