Writing the Conclusion

The conclusion is the third and final component of an Oratory speech. Of all the elements, this should be the easiest to complete as it is basically a summary of the speech. Yet, it seems to challenge many orators. Orators tend to have difficulty not only knowing when to end their speech but how. Over the next few paragraphs, typical problems that competitors meet will be discussed. Then, a “how-to” guide for orators looking for effective conclusion techniques will be provided to offer some tips on creating the best conclusion possible.

There are two common issues orators face when bringing their speeches to an end. First, they tend to not know when to end their speech. A conclusion is just that--a conclusion. This is not the time to bring up new points. Summarize what has already been stated in the body of the speech (namely the thesis and main points) in new words. There are so many orators who take the last minute of their speech and consider it an opportunity to cram as many facts in as possible. Then one sentence is said that lets people know they are finished. The question is, if facts are being forced in at this point, what was being said during the last nine minutes of the speech?

Another common mistake orators make with the conclusion is trying to be too creative. The conclusion is a summary. This does not mean that content cannot be creative, but it does not give complete freedom to be creative with format. Concluding with a song or a poem is generally not a good idea (out-of-place and random). It is best to just summarize the thesis and major points and be done. Overdoing a conclusion usually kills a speech. Even a speech started with the best of introductions, and developed well within the body paragraphs, can be ruined by a flawed conclusion. A shot at first or second could be lost because of a conclusion being confusing and not in sync with the rest of the speech’s tone .

With that said, it important to not just avoid common mistakes but to understand what exactly comprises an effective conclusion. In short, an effective conclusion is the introduction in reverse. When transitioning into the speech’s final thoughts, restate the thesis but not exactly the way it was originally stated--reword it. Simply recap with the mentality of “I just have to reiterate what I already told them.” This is important for two reasons. First of all, it solidifies to the audience what the speech’s stance and main points are. A speaker knows them because they created the speech, but to an audience this is all new. Obviously, the speech itself should be tight enough were one point builds upon the another. But, a speech gains strength further by firmly declaring the stance. Secondly, it provides a so-called “book end” to the speech. Speeches, and papers as well, should come full-circle. This is key; especially when the judge is critiquing organization. A couple of main points not mentioned in the conclusion can be the difference between two places in overall assessment.

In keeping with the reverse concept, the last element to include in a conclusion is a sentence or two which eludes back to the introduction’s attention getting device. This is to, again, bring everything full-circle and to allow an audience to see the relevance of the introduction as an element of persuasion. For example, if an anecdote was used in the introduction, the conclusion is a clever place to state the resolution. (Normally, the anecdote will present a major problem and then transition to the thesis. This style presents an opportunity to quickly, concisely, and sometimes wittingly present the lesson learned throughout the speech, the answer to the anecdote’s problem, in the conclusion.) Further, this final line or so should serve as a clincher--a thought-provoking statement about the speech which should resonate with the audience. If this can be accomplished a speaker will prove themselves organized and creative.

One other thing to note is that a quotation can be used in the conclusion. This can be a segway into the thesis recap. A quote can make or break a conclusion though, so speakers must be careful. If using a quote, make sure it is quick and witty to prevent audiences from thinking a new point is being introduced.

To conclude, be precise when writing an Oratory’s conclusion. A conclusion is merely a summary of the speech, so restate the thesis and the main points and end. Be confident with the reiteration being captured within the conclusion, as it is the essence of an Oratory. Leave people remembering the wonder of the speech--and possibly with one zinger of a clincher.