Conclusion, Review Questions, and Activities

John Raux

“Classic Raux” by Tim Samoff. CC-BY-ND.

This chapter first shows how to structure and develop introductions and conclusions. Second, it argues that introductions function to gain audience attention and goodwill, and that introductions help structure the speech with a thesis statement and preview. Third, the chapter explains that conclusions help audiences remember the key ideas of a speech. Finally, the chapter reveals that there are a variety of different techniques for introductions and conclusions, and that many of the techniques for introductions apply to conclusions as well.

Introductions set the stage for the speech that is to come; conclusions make sure that the audience goes away changed in a positive manner. Short in time, they require careful thought and precise language to be effective. Done well, introductions prepare an audience to learn, and conclusions help to insure that an audience has understood the purpose of the speech.

When you can do the common things of life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world. – George Washington Carver

Review Questions

  1. What are the four basic functions of introductions, and why are these functions important?

  2. List and give one original example of each of the ten attention-getting devices.
  3. What are three reasons why stories are effective as introductions?
  4. Why is humor both useful and dangerous at the same time?
  5. What is a preview statement, and why is it important as part of an introduction?
  6. What are the four basic functions of conclusions, and why are these functions important?
  7. Compare and contrast an appeal and a challenge. When would you use each technique?
  8. What does it mean to “follow the structure” in a conclusion?
  9. Why are introductions and conclusions prepared last?


  1. Review the following speech and then write a brief (150-200 words) analysis on how the speaker used (or did not use) effective introduction and conclusion techniques.
  2. Read Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address ( and then rewrite the introduction to use:
    • Humor
    • Rhetorical Question
    • A story
      • Each introduction should be relevant to the topic and no more than 100 words in length.
  3. Working with a partner, create at least five analogies that could be used as part of an effective introduction for any of the topics listed below.
    • Commonalities of the world’s major religions
    • Dealing with gaming addiction
    • Selecting a college
    • Why the penny should be eliminated
    • My worst first date
    • Protecting your identity online and offline
    • Making the perfect lasagna
    • The three most important factors in choosing an automobile
    • The dangers of radon
    • Traveling through Europe on a budget
  4. Locate an informative or a persuasive speech on Youtube. Watch the speech once in its entirety, and then watching it a second time, answer these questions.
    • What attention-getting technique was used? Was it effective?
    • Did the speaker establish his / her credibility effectively?
    • Was the thesis or purpose of the speech clear?
    • Did the speaker preview the main points of the speech?
    • Did the main points of the speech correspond with the preview?
    • Did the speaker prepare the audience for the end of the speech?
    • Did the speaker present any final appeals? Was this effective?
    • What type of clincher (closing technique) was used? Was it effective?