Monday, January 13, 2020

How Writers Can Craft an Ending for Their Presentation

by Yvonne Ortega @YvonneOrtega1

You’ve crafted an introduction and the body or main points of your presentation. How can you conclude your speaking engagement?

The First Part of the Conclusion
Use a phrase to let your audience know that you will soon conclude. Some speakers say, “In conclusion . . .” or “In summary . . .” Others say, “To wrap up . . .” You can vary which one you use. 

I like to say, “Before I wrap up, we will have ‘Q&A’ (Question & Answer Time).” The amount of time the event planner has given me to speak determines the length of the Q-A. I prefer five to ten minutes on a breakout session of forty-five to fifty minutes and fifteen to twenty minutes for an all-day event. If the event planner tells me how much time to allow for the Q-A, I plan my presentation to comply. When we comply, we increase our chances of being asked to return. 

You’ve probably seen speakers end with the Q&A. I prefer to conduct that part of my conclusion before I review the main points of my presentation. You may want to do the same. That method prevents a participant from monopolizing the Q-A with one question or comment after another. After all, you want to be fair and give the others a chance to ask a question. 

At a high school speaking engagement, I had a young man try to take over. I smiled and said, “Thank you for sharing. We need to move on and give the others a chance to ask a question.” 

The Second Part of the Conclusion
This is a summary of the main points. You can review the points yourself, or you can ask the audience for the points. 

When I spoke on anger at a co-ed event, I said the first two points and couldn’t remember the third one. I laughed and admitted, “I’ve gone blank.” The audience also laughed and said the third point for me. You can also ask them for all of the points. 

The Third Part of the Conclusion 
For speakers, this is the “call back.” When you have a story in the introduction or for each point, you can call back to one of them in the conclusion. If you are one of several speakers, you can call back to one of their stories, to a humorous or positive statement they made, or to their career. Do that only if it fits your presentation.

At a conference where I spoke on life challenges and transitions, Laura, the speaker before me, was a lawyer. I said, “My ex-husband apparently didn’t like the local judge’s decision and filed a state appeal. That moved the case to the federal district court.” I paused and said, “Where was Laura when I needed her?” The audience laughed. 

The Fourth Part of the Conclusion 
This is a challenge or call to action (CTA) based on your presentation. Regardless of their reasons for attendance: pressure from a boss or spouse or their own motivation, you give the audience a challenge or a call to action. 

When I spoke on breast cancer, I said, “If it’s been more than a year since your last mammogram, what day this week will you call to schedule one?
During a women’s retreat on grief I said, “If you don’t move forward, what will your life be like one year from now? Five years from now, if you’re still alive?”

In summary, the four steps to craft a conclusion are:
  1. A phrase to signal the conclusion
  2. A summary of the main points
  3. A “call back”
  4. A challenge or call to action (CTA)

Yvonne Ortega walks with a small footprint but leaves a giant imprint in people’s lives. This power-packed package is a professional speaker and the author of the Moving from Broken to Beautiful® Series through cancer, divorce, forgiveness, and loss. Learn more at

Yvonne speaks with honesty and humor as she shares her life and struggles through presentations that empower women to find peace, power, and purpose through God’s Word. 

Yvonne’s background as a licensed professional counselor brings a unique perspective into the heart of women. She’s a speaking and writing coach and the owner of Moving from Broken to Beautiful®, LLC. She belongs to the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, the Christian Authors Network, the National Speakers Association, and Toastmasters International.

She celebrates life at the beach, where she walks, builds sand castles, blows bubbles, and dances.