No more conclusions, please

No more conclusions, please

Every inch of your article, white paper, or other publication is valuable real estate. Don’t waste it by using a heading like “Conclusion.”

Why skip saying “conclusion”

Your readers scan your publications to see if they’re worth reading. This is especially true of your blog posts and other online publications.

Readers look at headings to see if you’re saying something interesting. The heading “Conclusion” tells them nothing about your thoughts.

It’s much more effective to share your high-level conclusion in the final heading of your piece. You can tie your heading to the next step your reader should take.

If you must put “conclusion” in your heading, I suggest you follow it with a subheading. For example, “Conclusion: Quit using ‘conclusion’ as a heading.”

Disagreement about conclusion

Neil Patel, a guest blogger on HubSpot, disagrees with me, at least when it comes to blog posts. He says, “In my opinion, the best conclusions are outright labeled ‘Conclusion,’ either with a header (as in my example below) or with the phrase ‘In conclusion.'” He didn’t persuade me.

However, I like most of Patel’s other recommendations in “8 Tips for Writing More Powerful Conclusions,” except for his suggestion that you end every blog post with some sort of summary. That’s overkill, in my view.

4 replies
  1. Coach Maria
    Coach Maria says:

    Agree, but for a different reason (I think).

    I want to create my own conclusion (and determine what is important for me in any sort of SUMMARY) when I read an article. I gather information from the article or group of articles on similar topics.

    It’s up to me to “conclude”

  2. Mary Jo Lyons
    Mary Jo Lyons says:

    I agree Susan, It annoys me when others assume they need to think for me. Give me the facts, I will make my own conclusion. That’s the way journalism was taught back in the day. It’s also like giving away the milk for free. Why would they need to buy the cow?

  3. Susan Weiner, CFA
    Susan Weiner, CFA says:

    Mary Jo, thank you for taking the time to comment. It’s interesting that both you and Maria, the other commenter on this post, want to draw your own conclusions. Clearly, the two of you represent a distinct way of looking at how to present conclusions, if at all.

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