There are several ways in which you can conclude or end a speech. In this post I explore are 6 ways that work. The end of your speech is very important and can determine the overall success or failure of your presentation. It is your end that creates great impact and determines what people will walk away with, what they remember and what they will do next. It is worth planning, testing and practising the ending of your speech.
- End with a summary.
This is a classic way to end your speech. Simply summarise and reiterate your 3 or 4 key points from within the presentation, ensuring that they have this road-map locked away in their memories. Or repeat your core message and why it is so important to adopt this message as you end your speech.
- End with a call to action.
This is an ending where you ask the audience to do something, to vote with their feet, to write a letter of protest, to eat 2 fruit and 5 veg every day or whatever you want them to do – this is your call to action. Many people in their presentations provide lots of information, persuasive data but don’t actually ask the audience to do something or to change as a result of what they have presented. They just stop speaking and hope the audience gets the message. So have a strong and clear call to action at the end of your speech.
- End by closing a loop
A loop is a tool that is used by professional speakers and often comedians. It is also called layering of the story. So you tell a story or give some information that makes sense. Then later on you add another layer or another chapter that adds a new dimension or greater understanding and creates those light bulb moments for your audience. With your ending you can add just one last chapter or one last loop that create the big “aha moment” and brings everything that you have said into a big take home message or call to action.
You may recall the movie “The sixth sense” where this young child could see and speak with dead people. Concerned about this he had to see a child psychologist to help him work through it. The end twist, or the closing of the loop which made the whole film make sense, was when it was finally discovered that the child psychologist played by Bruce Willis, was in fact dead. So the whole movie he had been talking and working with a ghost psychologist. This is closing the loop.
- Close with a memorable statement or strong quote.
This is closing with an attention grabber an amazing quote or some other amazing information that helps people remember the information or the message. I remember someone speaking about water resources in Australia and reminding us that we have to conserve our fresh water. He ended by stating that if you take a bucket of water as being the entire water available on planet earth, and take an eye dropper and remove one drop from that bucket, that is the volume of available fresh water for humans to consume on this planet. I remember that so well and I will remember that for the rest of my life.
- End with the benefits to the audience
In marketing we are always taught sell on benefits not features. What are the end benefits of someone adopting your way of thinking? How will they gain by following your message? If you are financial planner and your message to young people is that they should consider contributing to superannuation as soon as they can, rather than hold off until they are earning the big money, you would need to look at the benefits of this strategy to your audience. The benefits can be that you achieve your goals quicker, or it can be that you eliminate some form of pain quicker.
- Solve the problem
A classic speech structure that can be used is Problem – Cause – Solution. So you would open with the problem and if I stick with the financial theme, a well-known problem is that 90% of Australians are going to retire with less money than they need to enjoy a comfortable retirement. The cause is lack of planning, and delaying contributions to your superannuation, and paying all your other bills first, leaving no money for your savings, living beyond our means …… etc. The solution to his problem is these 3 easy steps – 1, 2 and 3. If you do 1, 2 and 3 you can ensure that you are in the 10% who retire and have the lifestyle they deserve. And end your presentation with a summary of the solution to the problem.
Make sure your next presentation is well structured and that you have a definite, clear and strong closing. If you are interested in learning more about speech structure, I am running a series of presentation skills workshops in Perth, Port Hedland, Karratha and Brisbane.