Exterior slabs look good with any number of finishes. Broomed, brushed, floated, and troweled finishes are the easiest. You need to walk on the slab, so to minimize imprints, use kneeboards, pieces of plywood about a foot and a half square with a 1x handle attached with screws. For more comfort, I make kneeboards out of 2-in.-thick rigid foam. You need three boards so that you can shuttle the free one in your direction of travel.
The first step is to score (concrete guys say "strike") control joints with a jointer. Then decide what kind of finish is best, and pick a broom or trowel.
Stiff-bristle brooms leave the most aggressive texture, always a good choice for walkways. A swirl pattern is a variation of brooming and is done with handheld brushes.
A float or trowel finish is nice for patio slabs where an aggressive pattern would be too tough on bare feet. A bull float or handheld magnesium float can be passed over the surface again. This time, floating will further smooth the fines on the surface and close bubble holes from the first float. Sand grains will stand proud on surface for a smooth-looking but slip-resistant finish.
After the slab is finished, don't let anybody or anything walk on the delicate surface for two or three days.