How to Close a Speech
Professional speakers know that one
of the worst mistakes a presenter can make is talking too long. Not
only will you send some members of your audience to never, never land,
you will make some of them downright mad. It doesn't matter if your
entire speech was given brilliantly and the audience came away with
information that will change their lives. If you talk too long, they
will leave saying, "That speaker just wouldn't stop." Don't
let this happen to you! Say what you have to say and sit down. You
will learn a lot about the art of a good closing in my public speaking
course, but here are a few tips.
A good closing is essential because the last thing you say is usually
what they remember after leaving. It requires that you must put as much time into selecting and practicing
your closing as you put into any other part of your presentation. Just
like your opening, your closing does not have to be humorous. It could
be motivational, challenging, thoughtful, respectful of the length of
the presentation, or it could restate your point in a different way.
This ending segment will have a strong influence on what the audience
takes home with them when you are done.
Making an impact and being memorable to your audience is part of using
what you learned in your public speaking course. To make your speech more memorable, during
your talk ask the audience to do something. Many a great NO ZZZZZs speech
went no further than the walls of the meeting room because the audience
wasn't moved to action. If you haven't ask them to do something by now,
the closing is your last chance.
If the subject is appropriate, I happen to be fond of humorous closings
for several reasons. If you leave them laughing and applauding, you
may exit, but an extremely positive impression about you will remain.
Another good reason to leave them laughing is that the room will not
deadly silent as you are walking back to your seat. I hate when that
happens. I do love laughter and feeling good; finishing a speech
humorously gives me and the audience an opportunity to feel great.
Speeches that are for entertainment purposes only should generally
leave the audience laughing. All of these are great tools you can
practice during a public speaking course.
Finally, if the subject is not appropriate to end with laughter, you
could end with a touching story or quotation that leaves the audience
thoughtful and quiet. Even the most serious subjects
can benefit from humor, so learn to practice these skills in your
public speaking course. The humor should be well sprinkled throughout the body of the presentation.
Don't put it at the end because closings are powerful and the audience
will think your overall attitude toward the subject is flippant.
This same technique can be very effective in ending a mostly humorous
speaking engagement. Have them laughing all along while you make your
points. Then finish seriously. This contrast will create a great
impact. It will convey the fact that you believe in a lighthearted approach to the subject, but the results are very serious to you.
Don't be afraid to use humor when you speak in public. Just make sure
you remember what you learned in your public speaking course and deliver it right.
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