Like introductions, conclusions are critical to our success as speakers. If our introductions and conclusions are strong we will be more effective in getting our points across. It is important to relate the conclusion back to the introduction along with providing a summary of what was covered in the presentation when giving our conclusions.
To go back to the pirates presentation the conclusion could look something like:
Shiver me timbers. Today we have found our pirate treasure. Our pirate map revealed some of the famous pirates in history; from Blackbeard to Grace O’Malley. As we continued on our quest we learned about their life at sea and received some insight into what their lives were like abroad. Finally our travels landed us in an adventure to learn more about the common phrases used by pirates. As captain of this ship it is time for you to walk the plank and continue on your own pirate exploration to learn more about pirates. Yo-ho, yo-ho a pirate’s life for me.
Notice that the conclusion reiterates the main points from the speech. The main points for the presentation were selected based on the speaker’s preference though sometimes the topic will determine what the main points will/should be.
The body of the presentation could have been organized in other ways. Instead of discussing the topics of famous pirates, life at sea, and commonly used pirate phrases using a categorical/topical pattern, we could have provided a history of pirates and broken the presentation down into a chronological pattern. We could have also organized the presentation into a spatial pattern by noting the locations where pirates generally came from.
In general the problem-solution and comparison-and-contrast patterns tend to be more effective in persuasive presentations and should for the most part be avoided for informative presentations. If we wanted to, we could have focused on the issues with modern pirates and note solutions for limiting/preventing piracy is Semolina. We could have done a comparison and contrast pattern by comparing the differences of modern vs. traditional pirates.
Regardless of the organization pattern selected, when giving the presentation we need to make sure to include transitions between our main points. Transitions essentially wrap up the previous main point and give a brief preview of what will be covered in the next main point:
Now that have learned more about Blackbeard and Grace O’Malley we will continue our quest to find out more about the life of pirates on the sea.
The transition helps the listener stay on track and gives them a cue that we are moving on to the next point. Keep in mind that most of our presentations are auditory so they will tend to be a little more repetitive to help our audience members follow along.
Having a strong introduction, a strong conclusion, as well as a strong organizational pattern will lead each and every one of us to be more effective when giving our presentations.
- Use transitions, internal summaries.
- Conclusions are meant to provide closure to the audience members. Include some sort of call to action/clincher to end the speech. If possible connect the conclusion back to the introduction. (i.e. if used a story in the introduction, relate back to that story in the conclusion).
- Make sure to summarize the main points in the conclusion. Also indicate the start of the conclusion. This provides an auditory cue for the audience to follow and helps them to prepare for the closing of the speech.
Module 4 – Discussion Board Questions
Consider a speech you have observed or presented. Provide a background on who spoke, what the occasion/purpose was, and what the topic was for the speech. What type of organizational pattern did the speaker use? Based on the suggestions from this week’s chapters what advice would you give to the speaker to help organize the speech more effectively (i.e. use of transitions, eye contact, vocalics, etc.)? What did the speaker do in his or her conclusion that was effective? What could he or she have done better based on the suggestions covered in this week’s chapters? How will you consider and apply these techniques in your own conclusions for future presentations?
If you have access to watch/listen/play videos on your computer, and are not able to come up with any specific speech example and/or would simply like to see some example presentations, you may opt to view one of the following presentations:
- David R. Dow – “Lessons from death row inmates” (approx. 18-19 minutes) – http://www.ted.com/talks/david_r_dow_lessons_from_death_row_inmates
- Daniel Goleman – “Why aren’t we more compassionate?”: (approx. 13-14 minutes) – http://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_goleman_on_compassion
- Marco Tempest- “The magic of truth and lies (and iPods)” – (approx. 5-6 minutes) – http://www.ted.com/talks/marco_tempest_the_magic_of_truth_and_lies_on_ipods