How to Write a Conclusion (With Tips and Examples)
Updated 13 December 2022
Writing a conclusion is an essential part of writing many business documents, including proposals, reports and articles for publication. This final section of your written works summarises the key points and leaves readers with a strong, final impression. Writing conclusions is challenging for many people. In this article, we will explain how to write a conclusion with tips and examples to improve your written communication.
When to write a conclusion
Write a conclusion any time that you're exploring an issue or idea in a written document. This might occur when you're writing a business proposal, an academic essay for publication or a company report.
The idea your writing presents is its thesis statement. Presenting the idea is the reason why you're writing your document. Your conclusion supports your thesis statement by summarising your findings or beliefs about the issue or idea. It provides the take-away message by offering solutions or insights into your topic.
How to write a conclusion
Writing a conclusion is easiest when you break down the process into small steps. Follow these steps for an effective conclusion that leaves a strong final impression:
1. Reinforce your thesis statement in your opening sentence
Reminding your readers of your thesis statement up front reinforces why the conclusion you've made matters. Paraphrase your thesis statement rather than rewriting it in the same way. This approach makes your writing more engaging and interesting.
2. Restate your supporting points
Remind your readers of the key points you've made through your written document. Restating these points succinctly shows readers the journey that's helped you reach your conclusion. It makes sure readers understand how your ideas connect with one another. Repeating your main ideas also reinforces their importance. As with your thesis statement, summarise your supporting points rather than repeating them using the same words.
3. Note your final thoughts
Your research, as outlined by your supporting points, has led you to a final idea. Explain your final thoughts clearly in your conclusion, including why your topic and findings matter. You may use deductive reasoning and your analytical skills to draw your conclusions.
4. Connect your opening and closing statements
Try to link your opening and closing statements. You might do this by revisiting an anecdote in your introduction or using the same imagery or key phrases. While this step isn't essential, connecting your opening and closing statements gives your work a sense of completeness, which can be very satisfying for readers.
5. Encourage action or thought
Every business document you write has a purpose beyond simply being read. Consider what you want your audience to do after reading your work, and add this prompt to your conclusion. Perhaps you want your readers to reduce their energy use in the office or call a phone number to learn more about your services. Perhaps you've found a solution or raised awareness of an issue you want your readers to think more about. Adding a call to action makes your business document more impactful because it encourages your reader to do something after they finish reading.
6. End on a positive note
An effective conclusion typically leaves readers feeling satisfied. This is best achieved by ending your writing with optimism. This is achievable, no matter what your subject matter. If your document discusses challenges or social concerns, you can end on a positive note by suggesting solutions or steps the reader can take to improve the situation.
7. Proofread your work carefully
Proofreading is an important final step in any writing process, including writing conclusions. Proofread your document as a whole to ensure your conclusion fits with your introduction and body. Look for obvious errors, such as spelling or grammatical mistakes, along with phrases that seem awkward or redundant. Make your revisions to improve your conclusion before distributing your writing.
Tips for writing effective conclusions
The following tips for writing conclusions will make your work more powerful and effective:
Work with existing content: Make sure your conclusion builds on the information you've already presented rather than adding new content. If you're tempted to add new ideas or evidence, restructure your work and incorporate these sections into the body of your writing.
Keep your tone consistent: A consistent tone makes your writing clear and engaging. A professional tone is often the best choice for business writing. A neutral tone often makes sense for academic research, as this ensures your work seems unbiased. A more emotive or persuasive tone may suit a piece designed to encourage charitable giving. Proofread your work as a whole to ensure your conclusion matches the tone of your introduction and body.
Use concise language: Writing succinctly makes sure your points stand out. Edit out phrases such as 'In closing' or 'In summary,' as it's obvious you are delivering closing statements or summarising your position. Similarly, delete phrases like 'This essay has considered' and 'This piece has shown,' which explain your writing process rather than your message. Let your writing speak for itself.
Start with specific details, then write more generally: An effective conclusion has the opposite structure of an introduction. Start with specific details from your findings, then write in more general terms as you widen your scope and address the broader issues.
Use authoritative language: Business writing usually attempts to convince readers to act or think in a particular way. You can do this with authoritative language, which demonstrates confidence in its conviction. Use definite terms such as 'will' and 'is' instead of 'may' and 'perhaps', which suggest uncertainty.
Write a full paragraph: An effective conclusion needs an introductory sentence, supporting sentences and a closing sentence. Writing full, detailed sentences will make your conclusion clear and powerful. As a rule, experts suggest your conclusion should be four or five sentences. This is similar in length to an effective introduction.
Types of conclusions
Different types of documents call for different types of conclusions. Familiarising yourself with the various types of conclusions can help you choose the best option for your documents:
A summarising conclusion paraphrases your document's main points. This style of conclusion is often found in long documents, as readers may need a reminder of everything they've read. Since a summarisation conclusion is objective, it's often used for technical documents such as reports and academic studies.
Example of summarising conclusion
Here is an example of a summarisation conclusion:
'Women now make up half of the country's workforce, yet they face numerous professional challenges. The gender pay gap persists, with the average full-time female earning 14% less than the average full-time male. This gender pay gap often leaves single women unable to purchase property or retire. Women are also underrepresented in boardrooms across a range of industries. Less than a third of the directors on ASX 200 boards are women. With women currently shut out from corporate decision-making, it's up to people of all genders to address these issues and give women greater advantages in their careers.'
An editorialising conclusion makes a final attempt to persuade the reader to adopt the writer's viewpoint. This subjective conclusion features personal commentary about the topic and a conversational tone. Editorialising conclusions suit documents discussing controversial topics and issues of personal importance.
Example of editorialising conclusion
Here is an example of an editorialisation conclusion:
'As our business posts record profits for the fifth straight year, I believe it's the right time to increase our charitable giving. Charitable contributions are an excellent way to give back to our community and show we are good corporate citizens. While these contributions would decrease our profits, they should generate positive word-of-mouth. This will increase brand awareness, customer loyalty and sales. I urge you to think beyond our bottom line and pledge $5 million to local charities this year.'
An externalising conclusion transitions readers into a separate, related topic to inspire further thought. This type of conclusion is often used for documents that deal with one part of a complex issue. Think of an externalisation conclusion as a potential introduction for another document.
Example of externalising conclusion
Here is an example of an externalisation conclusion:
'In the 10 years since our shelter launched, we have helped thousands of displaced members of our community. We are proud of the meals we've served, the housing we provide and our educational programs. However, during our history, rates of local homelessness have increased. While focusing on meeting immediate needs matters, we must consider the key cause of homelessness: mental illness. Restructuring our resources to provide adequate mental health care seems vital if we're to truly help our homeless community. I invite submissions on how our organisation can provide better mental health support for people in need.'
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