Finish Naturally

Allowing your text to end where it ends naturally is an easy and effective technique.

"I ran out of things to say," explains Fred, a graphic designer. "I was writing a proposal to get a new computer setup. I'd made my points clearly and needed to end with a bang. Using the list of closing approaches as a checklist was very helpful. The action I wanted my boss to take was obvious and saying something like 'Call me and authorize this purchase' is totally inappropriate. I considered closing with a question. I thought about ending with 'May I proceed?' But even that seemed too aggressive. My boss wouldn't like it. So finally, I just let it end where I ran out of things to say. The last line was 'With this setup, we'll have the most advanced capabilities the industry has to offer.'"

Karla, a physical therapist, says that she always used to end her letters with "If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me." She says, "Not only is it trite, but honestly, I didn't want to invite questions because clients take me up on it, and I never get off the phone. No action was necessary, no question seemed appropriate. So I just let the letters end where they naturally end. It seems to work well."

Whatever technique you choose, pay attention to the close. Many people scan—don't read—communications. They'll look at the salutation, the lead, and then go directly to the close. It's an important component and you need to take advantage of its potential.

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