Presentation language : The Conclusion

1. Signaling the conclusion

Signal that you're arriving at the conclusion early on. Doing so leads to increased attention in the audience.

Use key words like:

* To conclude ...
* In conclusion ...
* As a conclusion
* This brings me to the end of my presentation this afternoon.

You may want to refer to something you said at the beginning of your talk

* You may remember I began my talk today with a question "...?" As I end, I hope we are a little closer to an answer.

* In my introduction, I said we would be concentrating on solutions to the problem of acid rain. Now that we have reached the conclusion, I hope....

Now that you have raised the level of attention, this is no time to make any digressions. To do so would lead to a frustrated audience.
Nor is the conclusion the time to introduce any new ideas or develop any new examples.

2. Closing

Tell them what you've told them. Review the main points. Recall the most important examples.

End with a strong statement and thank your audience. Pause before thanking the audience.

* And the devastation of forests in Germany gave us a preview of what may lie ahead in many more areas if nothing is done. Thank you.

* I think you'll all agree then that we cannot rest on past achievements. The infant mortality rate can and must decrease even more. Thank you for being such an attentive audience.

3. Calling for questions

Invite your audience to ask questions.

* And now if you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them for you.
* If you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer them in the time we have remaining.
* I hope that was clear. If you do have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask them.
* This a complex subject. There are probably many things that are still not clear. I welcome any questions you may have.
* Thank you for being so attentive. I'd like to give you the chance to express yourselves now. If you have any questions or would like to have some points clarified, please feel free.

•  If no questions come, you cannot beg, but
- you can try humor
* If you're hesitant to ask a question for fear I'll start in again for another twenty minutes, let me reassure you on that point.
* It's always hard to ask the first question, so why don't you go ahead and ask the second.

- you can suggest one
* The last time I gave a talk on this subject, the most common question was on ...
* You might be interested in some examples where this method has already been used successfully.

•  If you don't understand the question, you can ask the person to repeat, (but only once) or you can restate the question.
* I'm sorry. I'm not sure I understand. Could you repeat your question please?
* If I understand you correctly, what you want to know is .....

•  If the question is aggressive, you don't want to appear hostile and you don't want to start up a debate. You can put the question off.
* I'm afraid we don't have enough time to go into that now, but I'd be glad to send you some documents on that point.
* That's an interesting point, but I'm afraid it concerns few of us here. I'd be glad to talk to you during the break or at the end of the session.
* Your question leads to an area which could be the subject of another paper. Perhaps we could continue this discussion during the lunch break.

•  If you don't know the answer:
* I wish I could answer that, but I can't. I'd have to go back to my lab for more data.
* I wish I knew the answer to your question. We're working on that aspect right now.

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