Effective Introductions and Conclusions

IntroWhen it comes to public speaking and presentations, one of the biggest concerns we have is how we can keep our audience interested and engaged. While you may be the main focus, you should think of a speech or presentation as a conversation you’re having with your audience. It should be a two-way interaction. The feedback from your audience lets you know whether or not they are following what you’re saying and it allows you to make adjustments if needed. Getting them interested is the first part of that conversation.

The introduction is your first and most significant chance to capture your audience’s attention. You want to use this time to let them know about what you are going to be speaking and do it in such a way that piques their interest. Get them thinking about your topic. Some ways in which you can do this include asking a question, telling a story, stating facts, or reciting a relevant quotation.  Whichever way you choose, make sure it is interesting. Starting off with a bland statement is not going to get them excited to hear what you have to say.

For example:

“Today, I will be talking about business website development.” This doesn’t sound like it will be the most interesting part of my day – and maybe even my week. Try something like this instead:

“Did you know that 65% of potential clients will search for your company’s website before reaching out in person or via telephone? That’s why it’s imperative that you have an updated, user-friendly website for your business. Over the next 60 minutes, I will show you what consumers are looking for when they search for you online and how to increase your potential to obtain their business. We will discuss webpage layouts, interactive menus, what pages you should include, and even some ways to enhance your SEO.” That sounds a lot better, doesn’t it? This introduction lets the audience know why it is in their best interest to pay attention and stay engaged.

The conclusion should be the last piece of the puzzle that makes everything come together. It should tie in with your introduction and summarize what you spoke about in the body of your speech. Did you ask a question in your introduction? This is a good time to provide the short answer (the longer, more intricate answer should be the body). If you started a story in the introduction, tell the end of it here. But make sure it all ties in with the rest of the speech.

For example:

“In this high-level overview of business website development, we’ve discussed webpage layouts, interactive menus, search engine optimization, and you’ve been given examples of what pages should be included on your website. With the tools you’ve been given today, you’ll be ready to wow those potential clients with what your business can do for them. Remember to keep it updated and keep it user-friendly.”

Your conclusion will obviously be a bit more in depth, speaking more on what was discussed in the body of your speech. But you get the general idea. If you find you have trouble writing the introduction or conclusion, try writing the conclusion first. Writing what you hoped the audience learned first can help in getting your thoughts out and then your introduction will be just a preview of what you already said. But again, remember to stay on track and tie your conclusion into your introduction like a big circle.

Written by Impromptu Guru Director of Operations, Christina Miller.

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