At Microsoft, the take-away is the essential message of a presentation or the conclusion that you are expected to draw from a situation. It is something you are expected to remember when the whole thing is over, a piece of information you take away with you as you leave the room.

XYZ demo take away (title of a document)

The preferred intensifier is key, and you probably see it attached to the phrase take-away more often than not. This example comes from a presentation on the results of a user study:

Results: XYZ Tough to Use
  • ...
  • Key take-away:
    • Migration to XYZ will be difficult
    • Need to show value of using the power of DEF

In fact, every single slide in this presentation had a bullet point at the bottom called Key take-away. (And, as you may have noticed, the heading is the singular take-away even though multiple take-aways were listed.)

Another use of the term take-away follows in the same spirit as the "essential message" usage, but the idea of "taking away" is taken literally: A take-away is a small information card that sales and marketing people give to potential customers. Think of it as the business card for a service rather than for a person.

[Raymond is currently away; this message was pre-recorded.]