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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 be 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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