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Chapter 8. Plan to Speak to Listeners on... > Tip 38 Use A Recipe to Conclude with...

Tip 38 Use A Recipe to Conclude with Power

The most effective conclusions are a combination of logical and emotional elements crafted into a clear sequence. To fashion a solid, uplifting conclusion, try this recipe.

  1. ANNOUNCE A STOP SIGN. A stop sign is an unmistakable verbal signal that your talk is about to end. Classic stop signs include the phrases “In conclusion” or “In summary.” Say your stop sign in a clear firm voice, and your audience will perk up—not because they’re glad you’re finished, but because they know they are about to hear an important statement: your final words.

  2. SUMMARIZE YOUR MAIN POINTS. Recap the main ideas you covered in your talk. Don’t say too much; just give a brief bullet-point list of your bottom-line points.

  3. MOTIVATE THE LISTENERS. Even in low-key presentations, you may find that an optimistic, teambuilding feeling would be appropriate as you conclude. To achieve this emotional, motivational effect, experiment with the following terms:

    • Challenge, Difficulty, Effort Tell the audience that the ideas you have proposed may not be easy to implement. Challenge them to take on the ideas anyway.

    • Optimism Express as much sincere confidence as you can. Be willing yourself to take on the challenges. Predict a realistic success.

    • The Future Refer to times to come. Even use the word “future” as you predict a brighter day.

    • Pronouns Make your talk personal. Use the words I, me, or mine—refer to your own commitment. Tell how you feel; risk a bit of self-disclosure. Use the word you to refer to the audience—or even better, use we, us, or our to refer to yourself and the audience as a team.

    • A Final Uplifting Phrase Make the very last words you say turn upward, not downward. Do not end with a statement like, “We will look forward to a brighter future and avoid the serious problems of the past.” Rather, say “We will avoid the serious problems of the past and look forward to a brighter future.” Leave the audience moving upward with your last words.

  4. PAUSE AND SAY THANK YOU. Thank you signals the finish, and therefore the moment listeners can react. The phrase is, in fact, an applause cue.

  5. PAUSE AGAIN AND SOLICIT QUESTIONS. Make sure your pause is long enough to allow for listeners’ applause or appreciative nods. Then, if appropriate, solicit and answer questions.



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