Monday, October 19, 2015

Purposes of a Good Conclusion

Purposes for the Conclusion:
1. Signaling the End of the Speech

Verbal techniques for signaling the end of a speech include using such
transitions as "finally," "for my last point," and "in conclusion." Speakers need
to be careful in their use of signals in their conclusion. For one thing, such a
cue gives an audience unspoken permission to tune out. Notice what students
do when their professor signals the end of the class session. Books and
notebooks slam shut, pens are stowed, and the class generally stops listening.

The challenge for a good speaker is to let the audience know that they've
reached the end of a speech and still hold the audience's attention. This takes
some craft for the speaker.

2. Summary of the Major Ideas or Main Points
Summarize the Speech Remember the golden rule of public speaking: "Tell them what you're going to tell them; tell them; then tell them what you've told them." Conclusions fulfill the final third of that prescription. They are a speaker's last chance I to repeat his or her main ideas for the audience. Most speakers summarize their speech as the first part of the conclusion or perhaps even as the transition between the body of the speech and its end. The summary is to the conclusion what the preview statement is to the introduction. It is important in both the preview and the summary to allow present your main points with a point-of-view. The point-of-view should be stronger in the conclusion than it is in the introduction.

One speaker summarized his speech on emissions tampering in an effective way, casting the summary as an expression of his fears about the problem and the actions I that could solve his fears:

"I'm frightened. Frightened that nothing I could say would encourage the 25 % of emissions tampering Americans to change their ways and correct the factors that cause their autos to pollute disproportionately. Frightened that the American public will not respond to I a crucial issue unless the harms are both immediate and observable. Frightened that the EPA will once again prove very sympathetic to industry. Three simple steps will alleviate my fear: inspection, reduction in lead content, and, most importantly, awareness."
3. Restate the Thesis in a Memorable/Strong Manner
Restate the Thesis in a Memorable or Strong Manner. Speakers
frequently leave this portion of the conclusion out of their speeches. If he/she
has done his/her job in the speech, this should be a portion of the speech that
is a cinch to include. After providing the main points, reasoning, support and
all of the other fantastic elements of their speeches, what would possess them
to leave this powerful step of the process out.

Imagine how successful an attorney would be in his/her closing statements if
he/she left out the vital statement in their concluding remarks that, "John Doe
is a ruthless and cold-blooded murderer." If he/she has done his/her job well,
it should be a natural progression for them to restate the main idea of their
entire case in front of the jury.

The same should be true for you in your speech. Whether you're letting us know that Jane Smith is a funny person that is a great asset to the school or that Council Bluffs curfew is outrageous and causes more problems than it solves, whether you're letting us know that making a piƱata at home is cheap, easy to make and fun or that we can't live without the new and improved X-14 Modulator, it is something that any good speaker needs to include as part of his/her conclusion.

4. Motivate the Audience to Respond

Motivate the Audience to Respond. One of your tasks in an effective speech introduction is to motivate your audience to listen to your speech. Motivation is also a necessary component of an effective conclusion-not motivation to listen, but motivation to respond to the speech in some way.

If your speech is informative, you may want the audience to think about the topic or to research it further. If your speech is persuasive, you may want your audience to take some sort of appropriate action-write a letter, buy a product, make a telephone call, or get involved; in a cause. In fact, an action step is essential to the persuasive organizational strategy which some of you will use in your final persuasive speech using Monroe's Motivated Sequence.
In a speech on auto mechanic fraud, the speaker motivated her audience to wield their consumer power to stop the abuse:

". . . with every dollar we spend, we're telling Mr. Badwrench that it's good to be bad. If we close our wallets and start spending some common sense, we can say goodbye to Mr. Badwrench. . . and get the monkey wrench out of our lives."

Another speaker ended a speech on protection of child witnesses with this motivational conclusion:

"Given the increased frequency with which children appear in trials, our chance of personal involvement is likely. As relatives of children who may need to testify in court, we need to help them as they prepare for what may be a traumatic event. As potential jurors, we need to understand that a child witness can provide accurate, essential information. By protecting the child witnesses and accepting vital information they may present, we can achieve a more complete justice."

Just as the conclusion is your last chance to reemphasize your main idea in a memorable way, so is it your last chance to motivate your audience to respond to your message.

5. Provide Closure with a Clincher

Provide Closure. Probably the most obvious purpose of a conclusion is to let the audience know that the speech has ended. Not only should the audience know that they've reached the conclusion, once the final words are spoken, speeches have to "sound finished." A speaker can attain closure both verbally and nonverbally.

Nonverbal closure can be achieved by such means as a pause between the body of your speech and its conclusion. You can also slow your speaking rate, move out from behind a podium to make a final impassioned plea to your audience, or signal with falling vocal inflection that you are making your final statement. The most effective closure is both verbal and nonverbal. The bottom line is, make sure your speech sounds finished.