With a handful of something delicious, a handler might be able to coax an animal to do what he wants it to do. In fact, there’s an idiom derived from the power that food exercises over man and beast. To have someone “eating out of the palm of your hand” means you have captivated them. You can influence their behavior. As a writer, what would you do with such power? Depending on what you’re writing, you might use your power to accomplish certain goals. Perhaps you want to teach a lesson or share information. You might be interested in evoking emotions—to entertain or move your reader to action. But what would happen if an animal handler dropped the food on the ground? He would immediately lose the special influence he held. The animal might refuse to cooperate or simply walk away. An ineffective conclusion is equivalent to wasting food on the floor; it would break any spell you had cast over your readers. Here are three methods you can use to make sure your conclusions are sound.
Don’t follow this advice: “Say it, then say what you said.”
Have you been told to summarize everything you have written in the conclusion? There’s nothing wrong with doing so. Nevertheless, there is a more effective way to conclude an essay. Synthesize rather than restate the material. If you presented an argument, show the reader how all the points fit together to form a logical conclusion.
Tell your readers how to react.
It doesn’t do much good to give a reader information if they have no idea what to do with it. Some topics lend themselves to a “call to action,” a direct statement that lets readers know how to use new knowledge. The best statements also demonstrate how readers will benefit from taking such an action. For example, evaluate these two sentences:
The first sentence tells the reader what to do. The second example shows the personal benefit of taking action. This type of concluding statement doesn’t work well with all essays. Use it when you want your readers to feel equipped to perform a task.
Consider your style.
The words and sentence structure of your conclusion influence how your readers perceive it. For example, employing parallel structure in the last paragraph creates a sense of order that may contribute to your credibility. Short, simple phrases seem dramatic. Connecting the ideas, words, or phrases of your first paragraph to your last one adds an air of cohesiveness.
A conclusion can be a powerful tool if correctly wielded. In it, you can provide an effective review of how its components relate to one another. Once you accomplish that, don’t make your audience guess what step to take next. A call-to-action statement may be just what you need to show readers how to put your information to good use. Choose your words wisely! The length and structure of your sentences as well as your word choice will have an impact on how readers receive your message. If you apply these simple tips to your next project, your readers will flock to you!