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Quick Tip: "In Conclusion…"
By Bill Wilson   Printer Friendly Version

Many "unprofessional" speakers announce that they are nearing the end of their presentation by saying, "In conclusion…." The problem is, rarely do they actually conclude with the trailing statement! I once saw a speaker who said "In conclusion" EIGHT times during his presentation. If you really want to make busy people angry, say "In conclusion," then keep on going for another ten or twenty minutes.

Think about it...if you're speaking to 200 people and you go beyond your allocated time by 10 minutes, that's the equivalent of 2,000 minutes, or over 33 hours! Even with a small group of 20 people, that's over 3 hours of wasted time.

The best thing to do is simply avoid the phrase "In conclusion." If you organize your presentation following the principles outlined in my series of articles about the "unprofessional" speaker elsewhere on this site, and you follow the basic rules in your introduction, the audience will know when you are nearing the end of your presentation. When you get there, do a quick summary, and then have a closer ready to wrap things up.

The closer generally should be something that sums up your message and gives the audience something thought provoking to leave with. Or, if your presentation is something rather light-hearted, you may end with something humorous. For example, when I speak after a dinner, I try to keep things light since most people have worked all day, are tired and are ready to go home. So, I often conclude by acknowledging that fact and thanking them for being attentive. Then I close with a quote by Lord Birkett: "I don't object when people look at their watches while I'm speaking, but I strongly object when they start shaking them to see if they're still running." I then say that I noticed a few people checking their watches so, before they start shaking them, I'll say my thank you's and good night.

Copyright 1999-2000 by William C. Wilson, Jr.
All Rights Reserved.

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