Concluding Your Speech – 3 Keys to Closing Your Speech With Impact
Have you ever seen a presentation where the speaker said, “Well, that’s about it” or flicks through some notes and says, “Yup, I think that’s everything.” An ending like this is not memorable.
Signal that you’re closing
People will sometimes let their attention wander during a speech, but when you signal that you’re closing, people will perk up and pay attention. They want to hear the summary of your message. How do you signal that you’re closing? People commonly use phrases like “In summary” or “In conclusion”, but you can be more creative. Try something like, “As we wrap up” or “So, what have we learned from this?” or “As we review the arguments for and against this proposal, I want you to remember this… ” or “I want to finish by reminding you… ” or “So, as you leave here today, what is the message you are taking with you?”
Summarise or call back to your main points
In my speech The Auction Scam, I could have summarised by saying, “So what have you learned? You’ve seen how agents entice you to list by using the quote lie. You’ve learned how they condition you to lower your asking price. And you’ve seen evidence that in most cases auctions will give you a lower price.”
Close with Impact
There are a number of ways you can do this. You can close with a story, a quote, a rhetorical question, or you can end with a call to action. Or you can use a combination.
For example, in The Auction Scam I was trying to persuade people to avoid auctions when selling their homes. I used the following call to action. “If you are selling your home I urge you to avoid, avoid, avoid auctions because they will get you a lower price.”
In that speech, I ended with story about a barrister. I’d already explained how auctions get lower prices, but now I wanted to emphasise that this knowledge should be obvious to everyone.
“I want to finish with a story about a man who got sucked in by the auction scam. He was a barrister. And he was so angry that he sued the agent – and he lost. And the judge said to him, ‘Auctions are a farce. You are a barrister. You are an educated man. You should have known better!’ “
Notice how using the rule of three (you – you – you) in this story adds to the impact. If you want to see how I gave this speech at the contest, go to my YouTube channel and search for The Auction Scam. Then take a look at the speech you’re currently working on and see if you can signal the close, summarise, and end with impact.