How to Write a Summary?

How to Write a Summary?

Very often, we are required to summarize lectures and talks. There are occasions when we attend meetings on special occasions. Thus, the preparation...

Very often, we are required to summarize lectures and talks. There are occasions when we attend meetings on special occasions. Thus, the preparation of a summary is an extremely valuable activity that needs our attention. In this edition of the English Language Note, I shall underline some of the basic requisites for writing a good summary. At the end of this note, I shall suggest that you carry out a practice to ensure that you too can write effective summaries.

Writing Stage Step-1

  • Select key items from notes already taken.
  • Here, the notes you prepare will closely conform to the preparation of the profile. Go over the earlier notes, and see for yourselves the way you can bring in the relevant aspects for your present effort.
  • State the key information at the outset, namely the speaker, audience, setting, events and occasion.
  • You need to take proper notes at the time of the meetings held, to be able to carry this out. Note-taking is a very good exercise. Most students and young adults do not know, or have not been taught, as to how to take notes. When you take notes, you must not write whole sentences, but important phrases/expressions and arguments that could lead to the preparation of the summary at a later stage.

Step -2

  • Sum up the main remarks of the speaker, then, then follow up by summing up the secondary arguments along with a few examples.
  • This sounds easy, but is actually quite difficult. It would involve bringing in arguments in a logical manner from the notes already taken. In other words, the exercise is not mechanical in nature, but would involve a considerable amount of thinking.


  • Identify the emphasis laid by the speaker. Here you need to pay attention to the tone of the speaker, and recall the emphasis he gave while he/she spoke at different stages of his/her address. In other words, you need to be alert to the speaker when he/she spoke.
  • State the views of the speaker, neutrally without passing any judgement or taking sides.
  • This is generally not done by most. People become partisan even when they are trying to reconstruct an event on the basis of writing a summary.
  • Try and remain neutral while preparing a summary.


  • Any Audience participation? Sum up the key questions/queries raised and the answers given by the speakers.


  • Sum up the Chairman/President's remarks:
  • In any address, there is always a President or Chair-Person who presides over a speech or an address, try and sum up briefly what he/she had to say at the end. Bring that in at the end of the summary.
  • Remember the points underlined above!
  • You are now ready to start writing a summary!
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