Saying Goodbye! It is always difficult to say goodbye and in this paragraph, to do so, please refrain from sharing with your audience all that you have said before. I know, most of us were taught to rephrase our thesis statement and topic sentences or summarize our essay in our conclusion. But unless you are giving a speech or writing scientifically, do not summarize your thesis statement and main points. This is the end of your journey with your audience, so you want to leave them with the best impressions of their travels with you.
So what do you write?
For college level academic writing, in your conclusion, you want to continue to engage with and hold your audience’s attention, while ending on a positive note. They have been on this journey with you and keeping your pace, so now is your chance to leave them with the gift, a souvenir if you will, of something to think about, reflect on, and/or put into action.
Here are some ways to further your discussion while staying on topic:
- Grab a bit or bob from your introduction to bring into and discuss in your conclusion; we call this coming full-circle, and expand this bit by explaining or helping your audience imagine it or the implications of it.
- Invite your audience to act or do something based on what you have been discussing— a “call to action.”
- Relate the topic of your essay to the real world—a current event, a community concern, a topic of interest.
- Share with your audience what we can learn about ourselves, each other, or the world from examining the topic you have addressed in your paper.
Since you will be giving a presentation or two this semester in this class, I thought I would touch on it quickly here. I know that most of us do not enjoy presenting information in front of class. Yet presentations are part of the academic and professional worlds. And if you think about presenting like a performance, getting on stage in front of an interested and engaged audience, maybe that will help you find the process of preparing and presenting less daunting and maybe, a little enjoyable. Our beloved rhetorical triangle is helpful to use as we establish the rhetorical situation for the presentation and prepare it. Just like theatre, we have all endured painful presentations and experienced disinterested audiences. You can work together to make certain the presentations that you give and sit through are interesting, informative, and dynamic.
Please watch Presentations Good and Bad Examples (2.30 minutes).
Active Listening Activities
Part One: Pair up with one or two other students, discuss the four qualities of a great listener.
Part Two: Using these principles of great listening, with your partner/s please do the following, taking turns being the listener and speaker (2 minutes minimum per speaker):
Speaker 1: Explain what topic you are deciding to write about for your presentation and then tell a rough version of the story you might tell the class as your presentation. If you want to, record this story so you can refer to it later.
Listener/s: Practice the four skills of great listeners and employ Folkman’s and Zegner’s five levels of listening by creating a safe environment for the speaker, clearing away distractions and maintaining eye contact with the speaker; think about what is being said, not how you will respond; empathize with and validate the speaker; interject to seek clarity, and after the speaker is done, interject some ideas about the topic that might be useful. All the while being supportive and not critical.
We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less.-Diogenes
Directions: Based on Folkman and Zegner and on your own experiences as an audience member and a speaker, with your partner/s look at the presentation assignment and create a list of the top 10 techniques you can use while presenting and listening to each other’s presentations. We will discuss these as a class and create the expectations for the presentations collaboratively.