Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course

Download this course

Share this free course

Talk the talk
Talk the talk

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

2.3 Reaching the end

Described image
Figure 3

When you reach the end of a written assignment, you summarise what you have said in the rest of the text and draw your main points together. Do you think you have to do the same in the conclusion to an oral presentation?

Observe how Bill Davenhall concludes his talk [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]   (from 9:07 to 9:20 on the timer). He says:

So with that, I’ll leave you that in my particular view of health, geography always matters. And I believe that geographic information can make both you and me very healthy. Thank you.

Note that this is probably shorter than a conclusion you would write in an assignment. In the talk that you are preparing your conclusion shouldn’t last more than a minute.

In his talk, Bill is clearly making a case and wants something to happen in the future, but he doesn’t end his talk particularly passionately. It’s worth considering the point of view of your audience – Bill’s audience aren’t in a position to actually go out and make something happen. He’s not asking them to ‘man the barricades!’ or ‘bring ‘em back, dead or alive!’ It is more likely that he is trying to plant a seed that he hopes will grow later.

So, what sort of language might you use to signal the end of your talk? Here are some suggestions:

  • ‘Let’s recap, …’
  • ‘I’d like to sum up now…’
  • ‘Let me summarise briefly…’
  • ‘Allow me to remind you of some of the key points…’
  • ‘If I can just summarise the main points…’.

These all work in a fairly formal context, but you don’t need to stick to them; you might add humour, drama or passion and that will depend on the purpose of your conclusion.

Consider your talk, and make notes about how you want it to end. Just what is it you want your audience to be thinking and feeling when you finish? How will you achieve it? What sort of language will you use? You should refer back to these notes when you prepare your talk.