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Lesson 6. Making Your Recommendation or ... > What Are Conclusions? - Pg. 24

Making Your Recommendation or Conclusions Caution 24 Avoid conclusions that are merely summaries of the data. Conclusions should go further-- they should explain what the data mean for your organization. By providing the conclusions immediately after you've set up the situation through the background, you show respect for your reader's time. She can now respond accordingly: · If the reader understands the conclusions in the context of the background, and does not need the detailed information your conclusions are based on, she does not need to read further and can safely set the document aside. · If the detailed information in the document is something the reader doesn't need now, but may need at a later date, she may file the document for later retrieval. Tip Use summaries and data analyses to begin to lay the foundation for a future recommen- dation by presenting conclusions that will later be used to support your recommendation. What's in the Conclusions? There are several key elements you should provide in the conclusions: · The conclusions themselves. For example, you might conclude from business analysis that coupon drops no longer lead to incremental stocking and merchandising in national accounts. Your conclusions should be directly tied to your analysis or research objectives. Unlike a rec- ommendation, which should focus on a single topic, you may wish to make several conclusions based on the information you're summarizing or analyzing. · A sentence or two describing the data you used to reach each conclusion. Since you'll be pro- viding the data in detail later in the document, you should only very briefly summarize it here. · Any caveats or mitigating information needed to ensure that your reader knows whether your conclusions may be based on less-than-complete information. Caution Make sure your conclusions are supported by the data you're summarizing or analyzing. Making unsupported conclusions can damage your credibility in the organization. Writing the Conclusion Suppose you're the financial analyst for your company, which sells standard lighting fixtures for commercial buildings and residences, and customized lighting for industrial settings. The custom- ized light business is smaller than that of standard fixtures, but generates a much higher profit margin per unit. The Sales team is currently examining ways to increase sales of customized lighting, and you've been asked to analyze the financial implications of the various pricing and promotion plans the sales team has developed. At this stage, you are not prepared to recommend one plan over any of the others. However, you are in position to report on your analysis of whether the plans may result in increased profitability for the company. In the Background section, you're described each of the plans and estimated what each would cost in implement. With that background your conclusions might appear as follows: