Write Conclusions that Have Impact

Write a conclusion that achieves your goals

If you're presenting a case, restate the conclusion and main points together.

If your message builds an appeal or argument leading to a conclusion or action, restate the main points in the conclusion to help the reader see the points with the conclusion. If you are not building to a conclusion and the message is short, do not restate the main points. It will appear contrived and stilted.

State the facts the reader must know at the beginning and end.

If the reader must remember a small number of facts, state the facts at the beginning and end.

State any action the reader must perform at the beginning and end.

If the reader must perform an action, state it at the beginning and end. Include concrete details as necessary, specifying the who, what, when, where, and how applications to the action.

End with your interest in being helpful.

Write, "Call me or e‑mail me if you have any questions" or "I will help in any way I can. Just contact me." Saying you are available and willing communicates your wish to cooperate. That builds a partnership spirit.

Include follow-up information about next steps: who, what, when, where, and how.

If you are to take the next step, explain what you will do next. If the reader is to take the next step, explain your willingness to help, your appreciation for the reader's effort, or your anticipation of the reader's actions.

Make sure everyone is clear about the answers to these questions: Who? What? When? Where? and How?

If you appreciate the readerís cooperation or in some other way value the readerís contribution, state that in the conclusion.

Reiterate in the conclusion your appreciation for the reader's efforts or help, even if you stated that in the introduction. If you have nothing real and concrete to say, don't manufacture something. However, this is the time to build the partnering and team spirit.

Provide reassurances after bad news.

If the e‑mail presents bad news, you probably started with a buffer to try to reduce the impact of the bad news. End with the same reassurances you used at the beginning. That shows your sincerity.

Include a feedback loop for important messages.

Include a feedback loop for important messages. Make sure

  1. you know the person has received the message,
  2. you know the person has understood the message,
  3. you know the person has followed through with the actions in the message.

End with contact information.

When you write an e‑mail, letter, or memo, always include contact information at the end. Provide your phone number, extension, and e‑mail address.


To see an example of a memo that has a poor conclusion and a revision that improves it, click on the "Example" button below. The information will appear in a new window. Close the new window when you're finished looking at the examples.




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