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Oral Communication Center

Developing a Presentation

Speech Introductions and Conclusions

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Introductions

Should secure audience attention and interest, orient listeners to the plan and content of the speech, and set expectations.

Do:
  • Get the audience's attention with a story, quotation, personal experience, etc.
  • Identify the topic and indicate why it is relevant, important, or interesting.
  • Establish your credibility through words or behavior.
  • Provide context, background, and definitions listeners might need.
  • State your purpose, thesis, or research question.
  • Preview the body of your speech.
  • Make a transition to the first point in the body of the speech.

Don't:
  • Start with "um" or "okay."
  • Apologize for weaknesses in your content, preparation, or speaking ability.
  • Complain about food, accommodations, equipment, facilities, or other speakers.
  • Use "humor" that might disparage, offend, or alienate your listeners.
  • Use cheap tricks to get attention.
  • Go on about how hard it was to choose a topic.

 

Conclusions

Should reinforce the message and give the speech unity and closure.

Do
  • Summarize the main points of your speech.
  • Restate your purpose or thesis.
  • Create closure, a sense of finality.
  • In persuasive speeches, make a final call for commitment or action.
Don't
  • Open new areas of discussion or argument.
  • Change position or viewpoint.
  • Resort to feeble closing phrases like "and that's all I have to say."
  • Say "thank you" just because the audience doesn't seem to realize that your speech is over.