PEOPLE WILL FORGET WHAT YOU SAID, PEOPLE WILL FORGET WHAT YOU DID, BUT PEOPLE WILL NEVERFORGET HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL. — Maya Angelou
Look, there are the Notes and the More Notes handouts on her table.The participants will sure have something to read on their way back home today. Or tomorrow.
THE conclusion has a special importance becauseit’s the part that your audience will remember best.Thus, it must be especially inspirational, it must makethe best effort to motivate your audience.
TRY to prepare your conclusion before you preparethe rest of the talk. This will help you deﬁne your aimclearly. Because it’s not clear for you right from the start,then how can you deﬁne what you need to saythroughout the whole presentation? Here’s an analogy:how can you plan a trip somewhere if you don’t knowwhere you want to be ﬁnally?
NOW, let’s look at the most common structure of the conclusion partand the phrases we can use during each of them.
Conclusion structure1. Signaling the endAt the end of the main body of your presentationyou say a couple phrases which let the audience know you’re about to stop.This will attract everybody’s attention.✣ That’s all I want to say for now on...✣ Okay, that ends (the third part of) my talk.✣ That brings me to the end of my presentation...✣ That covers all I wanted to say today.
Conclusion structure2. SummarizingA brief summary restates main point(s) of your talk and restates whatthe audience must understand and remember.Important: summary cannot contain any new information and must be short.Don’t launch into another mini-presentation. And the number of your main pointscannot be more than three. Otherwise the word ‘main’ just loses its sense.✣ I’d like to end with a summary of my main point(s).✣ Let me just run over the key points again.✣ I’ll brieﬂy summarize the main issues.✣ To sum up, ...
Conclusion structure3. ConclusionAfter summarizing your main point(s), you need to make a logical conclusion.This is the aim of your talk, this is your message, so this part is extremelyimportant.Conclusion can state the logical consequences of what has been said and oftencontains recommendations. To build a bridge from summarizing, you can highlightone of the just mentioned main points and focus on it.Unlike summarizing, it may contain new and important information: it can help youreinforce the importance of your message. But like summarizing, it must be short.
Conclusion structure3. Conclusion ✣ I’d like to end with ... — some observations based on what I’ve said. — some conclusions / recommendations. — a brief conclusion. ✣ There are two conclusions / recommendations. ✣ So, I would suggest that we ... ✣ What we need is ... ✣ I think (we have seen that) we have to ... ✣ As you can see, there are some very good reasons ... ✣ I’d like to propose ... (more formal)
Conclusion structure4. ClosingThis is an easy part: at the end of everything you wanted to sayyou just say thank you to your audience.✣ Thank you for listening / your attention.
Conclusion structure5. Inviting questions / discussionWe will examine how to deal with questions and discussion in the next unit,but here is advice how to invite them.✣ Now we have (half an hour) for questions and discussion.✣ Alright. Now, any questions or comments?✣ So, now I’d be very interested to hear your comments.✣ I’d be glad to try and answer any questions.✣ So, let’s throw it open to questions.
Conclusion structure5. Inviting questions / discussion Beware of the ‘nightmare scenario‘ — total silence after your ‘Any questions?’ Have one or two prepared questions to ask the audience. This will start your interacting, and audience will feel easier to ask back. In case you’re getting a lot of questions, watch the time, limit long questions. As for choosing between questions or a discussion, you can decide which way of interacting and getting feedback is better, depending on your speciﬁc subject and audience.
Formality versus creativityREMEMBER always to adjust your speechto your audience. As we said in Getting Started Unit,if your audience consists of creative young people,you’d rather be unconventional and use our followingadvice as you feel is appropriate. If, on the other hand,you’re about to be talking in front of an olderand conservative audience, sticking to the commonstructure that we just described is more preferable.
LET’S go back to the aim of conclusion to makethe ultimate impression on audience and motivate it.As we said, summarizing the main points and drawing consequences/recommendations is a very common and effective way. Especially — for logical people.
Effective conclusionsCalling the audience to actionStating your objective clearly is effective for action people, who oftenjust need inspiration to start doing new things.✣ So that’s the plan. Now let’s go and put it into practice!✣ So now it’s your turn.✣ Now let’s make a real effort to achieve this goal!
Effective conclusionsUsing rhetorical questionsWe already talked about rhetorical questions in the Key Language Unit.✣ After all, isn’t that why we’re here?✣ Let me just ﬁnish with a question: if we don’t do it, won’t somebody else?
Effective conclusionsQuoting a well-known person✣ As ... once said, ...✣ To quote a well-known businessman, ...✣ To put it in the words of ..., ...Important: if you used a quotation in introduction, using another one in conclusionis not recommended. It will already sound like a repetition, lack of your ownthoughts.But all is relative, remember. Maybe you’ll ﬁnd two different quotations on a similarsubject which contradict with each other, create an interesting tensionbetween the beginning and the ending of your talk? If your message beneﬁtsfrom such tension, go ahead.
Effective conclusionsReferring back to the beginningThis way adds consistency to your whole talk, and gives an effect of suddendeeper understanding of your message’s importance.✣ Remember what I said at the beginning of my talk today? Well, ...✣ Let me just go back to the story I told you earlier. Remember, ...