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13.4: Speaking Strategies - Presentation Structure, Part III

  • Page ID
    188608
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    Finally, we come to the conclusion—the final statement given to an audience to solidify the message of the presentation, speech, or essay. You have laid out your introduction and have explained and supported your main points. The good news is that the hard work is done! All that remains is to summarize your main points, thank your audience, and then check if anyone has any questions. (Note: These final two steps can be omitted if you are writing an essay). Let’s break down these three final steps!

    Step 1: Summarize your Main Points

    You have already explained in detail what your main points are, why they are important, and supported this with an example, a chart, a graph, or some kind of photograph or image that illustrates the connection between your point and researched or documented data. The final step is to take all this information and summarize it in 1-2 sentences. The easiest way to do this is to say, “In conclusion,” and then simply restate your main “thesis” sentence and briefly remind your audience of its importance or significance to your entire message. The flow will sound something like this:

    “In conclusion, I discussed ____________________________________________ (main theme of your presentation or speech). First, I discussed _______________________________________ (First Main Point). This is important because ________________________________________ (state the significance and support). Second, I discussed ____________________________ (Second Main Point). This is important because ____________________________________ (state the significance and support). Finally, I discussed ___________________________ (Third Main Point). This is important because _______________________________________ (state the significance and support).”

    What you will say for the significance and support parts will change based on what you actually focused on in your presentation. The script above is just to give you an idea of how the flow of your conclusion should be, but be flexible and open to changing it to fit your theme and speaking style.

    Step 2: Thanking your Audience

    This is one of the easiest parts of your presentation or speech, but you would be surprised how often amateur speakers mess it up. It is important to read your audience first before delivering your thank you, and we can do this by asking ourselves some critical questions:

    • Did my presentation go over the time limit?
    • Do I need to clarify a missed point?
    • Do I need to apologize for something?
    • Are audience members visibly tired or in need of a bathroom break?
    • Do they look confused? In other words, did I not explain my main points effectively?
    • Was my presentation serious or light-hearted and fun?
    • Did I connect with the audience?

    Many more questions can be asked before saying thank you, but, based on the answer to those questions, choose the best “thank you” for your situation. A simple “Thank you” with a genuine smile will never be taken poorly, whereas a quick casual “Thanks” with an exhausted or exasperated look may rub people the wrong way. The best thank you is a sincere one, so remember that your audience sat through your presentation or speech, so a heartfelt sign of appreciation is required.

    Step 3: Q & A

    Some speakers will switch Steps 2 and 3, choosing to ask the audience for questions, and then thanking them. However, two thank yous are better than one! Thank them (Step 2), wait for your applause to end (sometimes there won’t be applause, so don’t let that alarm you), and then simply say, “Do you have any questions?”

    Here’s a valuable speaking tip: Try to learn your audience member’s names. If there are 300 members of your audience, this is impossible; however, if it were a small group of 10-15 members, this is a manageable amount of names to remember. If there are questions from certain members whose names you remember, calling on them by name will have a powerful effect on them, and they will remember you as a caring, focused, and engaged speaker.

    If you don’t remember their name, a simple way to address them is first saying, “OK, miss/sir, you have a question?” Before they begin speaking, fit in, “I’m sorry, what’s your name again? Takashi? OK, Takashi, what’s your question?” After you respond to their question, finish with, “Thank you for your question, Takashi.” This will give the appearance that you remembered their name!

    Speaking Activity

    Use the information in the chart below (“Becoming a Superhero”) to make a conclusion. The best practice is fun practice, so practice and have fun with your conclusion!

    Table \(\PageIndex{1}\): Topic: Becoming a Superhero

    Main Point #

    Main Point

    Support

    1

    Create a name

    According to a survey, 9 out of 10 superheroes choose their names by asking family members or friends for advice.

    2

    Buy a superhero outfit

    According to The Newspaper, 75% of superheroes buy their costumes from Aeon Department Stores.

    3

    Acquiring a superpower

    Your local space alien has superpowers for sale, but they are very expensive!

    Remember to use the script that was provided above, but feel free to adjust it in order to fit the main points’ significance and support. Take turns practicing the conclusion, and don’t forget to give each other advice on ways to improve!


    This page titled 13.4: Speaking Strategies - Presentation Structure, Part III is shared under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Daniel Velasco.

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