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Business Writing: Conclusions

Don't run out of energy to make a great last impression!

Ellen Jovin

Most business documents need a conclusion that reminds the reader of the writer’s key points. Usually a good conclusion will be a paragraph in length, though just as with the introduction, a longer, more complex document may require a somewhat longer conclusion.

In creating a conclusion, one of the biggest challenges writers face is how to close a document without simply repeating, in the same or similar words, what has already appeared in the introduction or elsewhere in the document. Remember, though, when your readers reach the conclusion, they will have traveled quite a distance (even if only a page) since the introduction. You, the writer, will presumably have explained your ideas, provided examples and details, and left your readers more educated about your topic than they were at the beginning. Because of your readers’ greater understanding, you can go a step further in your conclusion than you did in your introduction.

For example, in the conclusion of a report you might tie together your main ideas while commenting on their implication for the future. In a memo, you might summarize issues discussed in the body of the document while also emphasizing for the readers what action you would like them to take.

If you are stuck, take a step back and think about the larger practical and philosophical importance of what you have written. Why does it matter? What do you want your reader to do or think about your topic? Your conclusion is an opportunity to bring home the piece’s significance in a way that is difficult to do at the beginning, when you are introducing brand new ideas.