[This is part 2 of a two-part series, part 1 is found here.]
Think of a memorable persuasive speech you’ve heard. How did it end?
Most likely not like this: “That’s it. Any questions?” Great speeches are punctuated with a finale. Case in point: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
Persuasive speakers carefully craft their closing statements – a soundbite that sums it all up, a tweetable statement that everyone remembers, a 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 end your speech with “Thank you.” The subtext here is “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” in a closing statemt, 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 express your thanks, but follow it with a strong close.
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 is our solution – the 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 in your opening can help make this more effective.
Keep these strategies in mind as you plan your next presentation. With a strong opening and a compelling close, you are much more likely to leave a lasting impression!