[This is part 2 of a two part series, part 1 is found here.]
Think of a really great persuasive speech you’ve heard. How did it end?
Was it, “Great God a-mighty, we are free at last!” Or more like, “That’s all I have, are there any questions…”
Persuasive speakers carefully craft their final statements – a soundbite that sums it all up, a tweetable statement that everyone remembers, that powerful story that calls people to action. Whatever it is, it better be good, relevant, and memorable. Here are some tips on how to finish your speech with a bang.
Stay away from “Thank You”
If you want to up your game as a speaker, don’t settle for the obligatory “thank you” at the end of your speech. Often, when we say “thank you” at the end of a speech, what we’re really saying is “ok, I’m done now, please clap for me.” There’s nothing wrong with conveying your sincere gratitude, but if you’re going to say “thank you” as a close, at least be specific. “Thank you for all the amazing work you’ve done so far. Here’s to a great 4th quarter!” Better yet, go ahead and say your thanks, but then come up with a strong close that comes after that.
Tie it back to your opening
Tying back to how you opened your speech is a quick and easy approach. If you told a great story as your introduction, try leaving out the very last part and save it for your close. If you posed a question or riddle in your intro, close with the answer. This “bookending” technique ties your narrative together into a nice neat circle.
Connect the dots
Some stories are more complicated than others, and stating outright how everything they just heard fits together can really help your audience understand. For example: “We talked about climate change, and we talked about water consumption, and we talked about power-cell chemistry. The first two describe our challenge, the last, our solution – and way we are going to change the world…”
Close the deal
Many times the most effective close is simply to ask the audience to do something. You can be direct (buy, sign up, give, vote, etc.) or more subtle (take the next step, we invite you to participate, etc.) depending on the situation. Working in a reminder of the WIIFY (“What’s in it for you”) you established at the start of your talk can help make this more effective.
Keep these things in mind as you plan your next presentation. With a strong opening and a compelling close, you can take your presentation to the next level.