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How to Conclude a Speech
Last Updated: May 15, 2023 Fact Checked
This article was co-authored by Gale McCreary . Gale McCreary is the Founder and Chief Coordinator of SpeechStory, a nonprofit organization focused on improving communication skills in youth. She was previously a Silicon Valley CEO and President of a Toastmasters International chapter. She has been recognized as Santa Barbara Entrepreneurial Woman of the Year and received Congressional recognition for providing a Family-Friendly work environment. She has a BS in Biology from Stanford University. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 113,057 times.
The last moments are where a good speech can be made. If you want to leave your audience stunned, you can learn the basics needs of a good conclusion, as well as some tactics for ending creatively. You can also learn what techniques to avoid.
Things You Should Know
- Summarize the main points of your speech to remind listeners what they've learned.
- Recall something from the introduction so your speech comes full circle.
- Thank your audience for attending and listening.
Concluding Your Speech
- Use the chance to repeat your thesis a final time, if necessary. What's the one thing you hope someone remembers from your speech? What's the one thing that needs to be learned?
- In informal speeches, repeating the main points won't be necessary. If you're giving a toast at a wedding, you don't need to run back through a list of the great things about the groom.
- If you started the speech by drawing a sad portrait of a recently returned veteran who couldn't get work, or health insurance, and ended up in dire straits, that can be a heart-breaking intro. Pick back up with the story in conclusion to let you know where that vet is now.
- Any kind of reference can work. If you started a speech with a quote by Thomas Paine, end with more about Thomas Paine. The bookend technique is an excellent way of signaling the end for the audience.
- Put a face on things. Case studies and personal examples are extremely effective in helping an audience connect with a complicated issue or topic.
- Some people like to use this technique for the introduction, but it can be unexpected and even more effective to wait and use it at the conclusion, especially for speeches that are a little bit shorter.
- "We can turn back the oceans and stop the warming of our planet. It's not too late, as the title of my speech promises. It's not too late for any of us."
- It's also appropriate to use a "thank you" as the very last thing that you say: "We must continue fighting the good fight on climate change, for our children, for our economy, and for ourselves. Thank you." Cue applause.
- Sometimes, it's also appropriate to ask for questions if the occasion calls for it. People should be sure your speech is over, but if people seem hesitant, it's ok to say, "I'd be happy to take questions, if anyone has them."
Nailing the Ending
- "The fight for climate change (pause ) is a fight (pause) that we must (pause) win. Our children (pause). Our children's children (pause). Demand it."
- Return to the story of the veteran struggling to find work. With the sorts of infrastructure you're calling for in your speech, maybe he could be working a specific job, and getting into his own house, and even starting to plant a garden in the yard, something he always wanted to do. Dream a little, and let your audience do the same.
- "We must do this for our children, we must do this for our neighbors, we must do this for America, we must do this for the world, we must do this for the oceans, we must do this for the forests..."
- "Politicians can't legislate this. Architects can't build this. Artists can't dream this. Developers can't innovate this. Only you can do this."
- Address the audience specifically. Start using "you" toward the end of the speech, or address an individual in the audience to help bring it home.
Avoiding Common Mistakes
- "Well, that's pretty much it."
- "That's it."
- "I'm done."
- When the speech is over, don't keep talking. Even if you just remembered a point you forgot to make a few minutes ago, don't launch back into the speech when people are clapping, or once they're finished. When the speech is over, let it be over. If there's a chance for Q & A, then get to it then.
- Some speeches can be leavened with a bit of humor in the ending. If you've just given a particularly touching toast at a wedding, it might be good to release a bit of the tension with a well-placed gag. Probably not so much for a professional presentation.
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- Don't overwrite it. After your first few drafts, sit back and let it rest a few days. Then come back to your ending with new perspective. Pretend that you are listening to someone else say it for the first time. Read it like you will at the event. Then go back to editing. Thanks Helpful 4 Not Helpful 0
- Catch your audience's attention. Use a shocking fact, or statistic that will leave the listeners thinking and will urge them to action. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
You Might Also Like
- ↑ https://www.hamilton.edu/academics/centers/oralcommunication/guides/introductions-and-conclusions
- ↑ https://westsidetoastmasters.com/article_reference/12_ways_to_end_your_speech.html
- ↑ https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/how-to-conclude-a-presentation
- ↑ https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-communications/chapter/conclusion/
- ↑ https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/best-call-action-speech-examples-mitch-carson?trk=public_profile_article_view
- ↑ https://www.hamilton.edu/academics/centers/oralcommunication/guides/avoid-these-common-speech-mistakes-1
About This Article
To conclude a speech, try summarizing the main points you made throughout it so you can remind the listener what you want them to learn or take away. In some cases, you can use the conclusion to recall the introduction, showing how the speech comes full circle. Or, if you have a catchy title, work it into the conclusion to grab your audience's attention. You can also signal the ending by thanking the audience for listening or simply stating “In conclusion” to let your listeners know it’s time to wrap up. To put extra emphasis on your ending, slow your speech to get people to perk up and really hear your final points. To learn how to use your conclusion as a call to action, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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50 Speech Closing Lines (& How to Create Your Own) | The Ultimate Guide
- Public Speaking , Speech Writing
While speech openings are definitely one of the most important components of a speech, something that is equally as important is the way you conclude your speech.
There are few worse ways to end your speech than with a terse ‘thank you’–no elaboration or addition whatsoever.
Speech endings are just as crucial to the success of your speech as speech openings, and you must spend just as much time picking the perfect ending as you do to determine your best possible speech opening.
The words you speak at the beginning and end of your speech are words that your audience will pay the most attention to, and remember longer than any other part of your speech.
Speech endings can put even the most experienced speaker in flux, and increase their anxiousness manifold as they sit there attempting to figure out the perfect way to end your speech.
If you’re someone who’s in flux about your speech ending too, don’t worry. We’ve got some amazing ways to conclude your speech with a bang!
1. Circling Back To The Beginning
The idea behind circling back to the beginning of your speech is to reinforce the idea of your speech being a complete whole. By circling back to the beginning and connecting it to your ending, you let the audience understand that the idea of your speech is complete & standalone.
Circling back to the beginning of your speech also acts as an excellent way of reinforcing the central idea of your speech in the audience’s mind, and makes it more likely that they will remember it after the speech ends.
Need more inspiration for speech opening lines? Check out our article on 15 Powerful Speech Opening Lines & Tips To Create Your Own.
How To Circle Back To The Beginning
The easiest way to do this is to set up your beginning for the conclusion of your speech. That is, if you’re saying something like, say, a story or joke in the beginning, then you can leave your audience in a cliffhanger until the ending arrives.
Another great way to circle back to the beginning is by simply restating something you said at the start. The added knowledge from attending the rest of your speech will help the audience see this piece of information in a new–and better–light.
1. Will Stephen
Ending Line: “I’d like you to think about what you heard in the beginning, and I want you to think about what you hear now. Because it was nothing & it’s still nothing.”
2. Canwen Xu
Speech Ending: My name is Canwen, my favorite color is purple and I play the piano but not so much the violin…
Think of a memorable moment from your life, and chances are you’ll realize that it involved a feeling of happiness–something that we can associate with smiling or laughter. And what better way to generate laughter than by incorporating the age-old strategy of good humor.
The happy and lighthearted feeling you associate with good memories is the kind of emotional reaction you want to create in your audience too. That’s what will make your speech stick in their memory.
Done incorrectly, humor can be a disaster. Done right, however, it can entirely transform a speech.
Humor doesn’t only mean slapstick comedy (although there’s nothing wrong with slapstick, either). Humor can come in many forms, including puns, jokes, a funny story…the list is endless.
How To Incorporate Humor In Your Speech Ending
The simplest way to incorporate humor into your speech ending is by telling a plain old joke–something that’s relevant to your topic, of course.
You can also tell them a short, funny anecdote–may be an unexpected conclusion to a story you set up in the beginning.
Another way would be by employing the power of repetition. You can do this by associating something funny with a word, and then repeating the word throughout your speech. During the end, simply say the word or phrase one last time, and it’s likely you’ll leave off your audience with a good chuckle.
1. Woody Roseland
Ending Line: “Why are balloons so expensive? Inflation.”
2. Andras Arato
Ending Line: “There are three rules to becoming famous. Unfortunately, nobody knows what they are.”
3. Hasan Minhaj
Ending Line: “And you want to know the scariest part? Pretty soon every country on the earth is going to have its own TLC show.”
4. Sophie Scott
Speech Ending: In other words, when it comes to laughter, you and me baby, ain’t nothing but mammals.
5. Tim Urban
Speech Ending: We need to stay away from the Instant Gratification Monkey. That’s a job for all of us. And because there’s not that many boxes on there. It’s a job that should probably start today. Well, maybe not today, but, you know, sometime soon.
6. Hasan Minhaj
Speech Ending: Showing my legs on TV is probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done. And keep in mind last week I went after the Prince of Saudi Arabia.
The idea behind posing a question at the end of your speech is to get the wheels in your audience’s minds turning and to get them thinking of your speech long after it has ended. A question, if posed correctly, will make your audience re-think about crucial aspects of your speech, and is a great way to prompt discussion after your speech has ended.
How To Add Questions To Your Speech Ending
The best type of questions to add to your speech ending is rhetorical questions. That’s because, unlike a literal question, a rhetorical question will get the audience thinking and make them delve deeper into the topic at hand.
Make sure your question is central to the idea of your speech, and not something frivolous or extra. After all, the point of a question is to reinforce the central idea of your topic.
1. Lexie Alford
Speech Ending: Ask yourself: How uncomfortable are you willing to become in order to reach your fullest potential?
2. Apollo Robbins
Speech Ending: If you could control somebody’s attention, what would you do with it?
Quotes are concise, catchy phrases or sentences that are generally easy to remember and repeat.
Quotes are an age-old way to start–and conclude–a speech. And for good reason.
Quotes can reinforce your own ideas by providing a second voice to back them up. They can also provoke an audience’s mind & get them thinking. So, if you add your quote to the end of your speech, the audience will most likely be thinking about it for long after you have finished speaking.
How To Use Quotes In Your Speech Ending
While adding quotes to your speech ending, make sure that it’s relevant to your topic. Preferably, you want to pick a quote that summarizes your entire idea in a concise & memorable manner.
Make sure that your quote isn’t too long or complicated. Your audience should be able to repeat it as well as feel its impact themselves. They shouldn’t be puzzling over the semantics of your quote, but its intended meaning.
1. Edouard Jacqmin
Speech Ending: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
2. Chris Crowe
Speech Ending: “It’s more certain than death and taxes.”
3. Olivia Remes
Speech Ending: I’d like to leave you with a quote by Martin Luther King: “You don’ have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.”
4. Tomislav Perko
Speech Ending: Like that famous quote says, “In twenty years from now on, you’ll be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did do.
5. Diana Nyad
Speech Ending: To paraphrase the poet, Mary Oliver, she says, “So, what is it? What is it you’re doing with this one wild and precious life of yours?”
5. Piece Of Advice
The point of giving a piece of advice at the end of your speech is not to pull your audience down or to make them feel bad/inferior about themselves. Rather, the advice is added to motivate your audience to take steps to do something–something related to the topic at hand.
The key point to remember is that your advice is included to help your audience, not to discourage them.
How To Add Piece Of Advice To Your Speech Ending
To truly make your audience follow the advice you’re sharing, you must make sure it resonates with them. To do so, you need to inject emotions into your advice, and to present it in such a manner that your audience’s emotions are aroused when they hear it.
Your advice shouldn’t be something extra-complicated or seemingly impossible to achieve. This will act as a counter-agent. Remember that you want your audience to follow your advice, not to chuck it away as something impossible.
Our article, 15 Powerful Speech Ending Lines And Tips To Create Your Own , is another great repository for some inspiration.
1. Ricardo Lieuw On
Speech Ending: “Learn something new, or a new way of approaching something old because there are a few skills are valuable as the art of learning.”
2. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
Speech Ending: “If we want to improve the competence level of our leaders, then we should first improve our own competence for judging and selecting leaders.”
3. Sharique Samsudheen
Speech Ending: “Some people love money, some people hate money, some people crave money, some people even kill for money. But what they miss is they just need to learn how to manage money well, and that will give them financial freedom.”
4. Kate Simonds
Speech Ending: Teens, you need to believe in your voices and adults, you need to listen.
5. Melissa Butler
Speech Ending: When you go home today, see yourself in the mirror, see all of you, look at all your greatness that you embody, accept it, love it and finally, when you leave the house tomorrow, try to extend that same love and acceptance to someone who doesn’t look like you.
6. Iskra Lawrence
Speech Ending: Speak to your body in a loving way. It’s the only one you got, it’s your home, and it deserves your respect. If you see anyone tearing themselves down, build them back up And watch your life positively grow when you give up the pursuit of perfection.
6. Contemplative Remark
As the name itself suggests, contemplative remarks are intended to make your audience contemplate or mull over something. The ‘something’ in question should be the idea central to your speech, or a key takeaway that you want them to return home with.
The idea is to get your audience thinking and to keep them thinking for a long, long time.
How To Add A Contemplative Remark To Your Speech Ending
To add a contemplative remark to your speech ending, you first need to figure out your key takeaway or main theme. Then, you want to arrange that as a question, and propose it to your audience at the end of your speech.
Remember that your question shouldn’t be something too wordy or complicated to understand. As with the quotes, you don’t want your audience stuck on the semantics. Rather, you want them to focus on the matter at hand.
1. Lisa Penney
Speech Ending: “So I invite you to pay more attention to your thoughts & consider the legacy you leave behind.”
2. Grant Sanderson
Speech Ending: “Some of the most useful math that you can find or teach has its origin in someone who was just looking for a good story.”
3. Greta Thunberg
Speech Ending: “We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up & change is coming whether you like it or not.”
4. Bill Eckstrom
Speech Ending: Now, think about this: it’s not the complexity-triggering individuals or events you should fear the most, but it’s your own willingness to accept or seek discomfort that will dictate the growth of not just you, but our entire world.
5. Robert Hoge
Speech Ending: Choose to accept your face, choose to appreciate your face, don’t look away from the mirror so quickly; understand all the love, and the life, and the pain that is the part of your face, that is the art of your face. Tomorrow when you wake up, what will your choice be?
7. Personal Anecdote
Personal anecdotes, as the name suggests, are anecdotes that are personal to the speaker or instances from their life. Personal anecdotes are a great way to incorporate the magical powers of storytelling in your speech, as well as to make a personal connection with the audience. Using personal anecdotes, you can hit two birds with one stone!
How To Add Personal Anecdotes To Your Speech Ending
To add personal anecdotes to your speech ending, you need to filter through your life experiences to find out ones that directly relate to your topic at hand. You don’t want to include an anecdote, no matter how compelling it is, if it doesn’t relate to your topic.
Remember to not keep your anecdote too long. Your audience will most likely lose their attention if you do so.
1. Sheila Humphries
Speech Ending: “Why do you go work for these people?” My answer to them was, “If I could help one child make it in this world, it’ll be worth it all.”
8. Call To Action
A call-to-action is one of the absolute best ways to conclude a speech with a bang. A well-written speech should aim to alter the audience’s mind or belief system in some way and to make them take an action in that direction. One crucial way to assure your audience does this is by using a call to action.
How To Add A Call To Action To Your Speech Ending
A call to action comes right before the ending of your speech to provide your audience with a clear idea or set of instructions about what they’re supposed to do after your talk ends.
A call to action should provide a roadmap to the audience for their future steps, and to outline clearly what those future steps are going to be.
1. Armin Hamrah
Speech Ending: “So tonight, after you finish your Math homework & before you lay your head down on that fluffy pillow, bring a piece of paper and pen by your bedside…”
2. Graham Shaw
Speech Ending: “So I invite you to get your drawings out there & spread the word that when we draw, we remember more!”
3. Andy Puddicombe
Speech Ending: You don’t have to burn any incense, and you definitely don’t have to sit on the floor. All you need to do is to take out 10 minutes out a day to step back, familiarize yourself with the present moment so that you get to experience a greater sense of focus, calm, and clarity in your life.
4. Amy Cuddy
Speech Ending: Before you go into the next stressful evaluative situation, for two minutes, try doing this in the elevator…
5. Jia Jiang
Speech Ending: When you are facing the next obstacle or the next failure, consider the possibilities. Don’t run! If you just embrace them, they might become your gifts as well.
9. Motivational Remark
As the name clearly explains, a motivational remark motivates your audience to carry out a plan of action. It ruffles the audience’s mind and emotions and has a powerful impact on the steps that your audience will take after you’ve finished speaking.
How To Add A Motivational Remark To Your Speech Ending
The key to a good motivational remark is to inspire your audience. Your motivational remark should act as a ray of hope to your audience and positively inspire them to take a desired course of action.
Your motivational remark should not be negative in any way. You don’t want to guilt or coerce your audience into doing something or feeling a certain way. You want to leave them on a positive note to move forward with their life.
1. Khanh Vy Tran
Speech Ending: “No matter what you’re going through right now & no matter what the future holds for you, please don’t change yourself. Love yourself, accept yourself & then transform yourself.”
2. Mithila Palkar
Speech Ending: “Get a job, leave a job, dance, sing, fall in love. Carve your own niche. But most importantly: learn to love your own randomness.”
3. Andrew Tarvin
Speech Ending: “Anyone can learn to be funnier. And it all starts with a choice. A choice to try to find ways to use humor. A choice to be like my grandmother, to look at the world around you and say WTF–wow, that’s fun.”
4. Laura Vanderkam
Speech Ending: There is time. Even if we are busy, we have time for what matters. And when we focus on what matters, we can build the lives we want in the time we’ve got.
5. Julian Treasure
Speech Ending: Let’s get listening taught in schools, and transform the world in one generation into a conscious listening world, a world of connection, a world of understanding, and a world of peace.
6. Mariana Atencio
Speech Ending: Let’s celebrate those imperfections that make us special. I hope that it teaches you that nobody has a claim on the word ‘normal’. We are all different. We are all quirky and unique and that is what makes us wonderfully human.
Much like a call to action, the aim of proposing a challenge at the end of your speech is to instigate your audience to take some desired course of action. A challenge should make an appeal to your audience’s emotion, and motivate them to meet it.
How To Add A Challenge To Your Speech Ending
To apply a challenge effectively to your speech ending, you need to make sure that it’s something relevant to your topic. Your challenge should drive the central topic of your speech forward, and make your audience engage in real-life steps to apply your idea in the real world.
While its always a good idea to set a high bar for your challenge, make sure its an achievable one too.
1. Jamak Golshani
Speech Ending: “I challenge you to open your heart to new possibilities, choose a career path that excites you & one that’s aligned to who you truly are.”
2. Ashley Clift-Jennings
Speech Ending: So, my challenge to you today is, “Do you know, would you even know how to recognize your soulmate?” If you are going out in the world right now, would you know what you are looking for?
Metaphors are commonly used as a short phrase that draws a comparison between two ideas in a non-literal sense. People use metaphors quite commonly in daily life to explain ideas that might be too difficult or confusing to understand otherwise. Metaphors are also great tools to be used in speech, as they can present your main idea in a simple and memorable way.
How To Add Metaphors To Your Speech Ending
To add a metaphor to your speech ending, you need to first decide on the main idea or takeaway of your speech. Your metaphor should then be organized in such a way that it simplifies your main idea and makes it easier for your audience to understand & remember it.
The key is to not make your metaphor overly complicated or difficult to retain and share. Remember that you’re trying to simplify your idea for the audience–not make them even more confused.
1. Ramona J. Smith
Speech Ending: “Stay in that ring. And even after you take a few hits, use what you learned from those previous fights, and at the end of the round, you’ll still remain standing.”
2. Shi Heng YI
Speech Ending: “If any of you chooses to climb that path to clarity, I will be very happy to meet you at the peak.”
3. Zifang “Sherrie” Su
Speech Ending: “Are you turning your back on your fear? Our life is like this stage, but what scares are now may bring you the most beautiful thing. Give it a chance.”
The idea behind using stories to end your speech is to leave your audience with a good memory to take away with them.
Stories are catchy, resonating & memorable ways to end any speech.
Human beings can easily relate to stories. This is because most people have grown up listening to stories of some kind or another, and thus a good story tends to evoke fond feelings in us.
How To Incorporate Stories In Your Speech Ending
A great way to incorporate stories in your speech ending is by setting up a story in the beginning and then concluding it during the end of your speech.
Another great way would be to tell a short & funny anecdote related to a personal experience or simply something related to the topic at hand.
However, remember that it’s the ending of your speech. Your audience is most likely at the end of their attention span. So, keep your story short & sweet.
1. Sameer Al Jaberi
Speech Ending: “I can still see that day when I came back from my honeymoon…”
2. Josephine Lee
Speech Ending: “At the end of dinner, Jenna turned to me and said…”
Facts are another excellent speech ending, and they are used quite often as openings as well. The point of adding a fact as your speech ending is to add shock value to your speech, and to get your audience thinking & discussing the fact even after your speech has ended.
How To Add Facts To Your Speech Ending
The key to adding facts to your speech ending is to pick a fact that thrusts forward your main idea in the most concise form possible. Your fact should also be something that adds shock value to the speech, and it should ideally be something that the audience hasn’t heard before.
Make sure that your fact is relevant to the topic at hand. No matter how interesting, a fact that doesn’t relate to your topic is going to be redundant.
1. David JP Phillips
Speech Ending: 3500 years ago, we started transfering knowledge from generation to generation through text. 28 years ago, PowerPoint was born. Which one do you think our brain is mostly adapted to?
14. Rhethoric Remark
Rhetoric remarks are another excellent way to get the wheels of your audience’s minds turning. Rhetoric remarks make your audience think of an imagined scenario, and to delve deeper into your topic. Rhetoric remarks or questioned don’t necessarily need to have a ‘right’ or one-shot answer, which means you can be as creative with them as possible!
How To Add Rhethoric Remarks To Your Speech Ending
Since rhetorical questions don’t need to have a definite answer, you have much freedom in determining the type of question or statement you wish to make. However, as with all other speech endings, a rhetorical question shouldn’t be asked just for the sake of it.
A rhetorical question should make your audience think about your topic in a new or more creative manner. It should get them thinking about the topic and maybe see it from an angle that they hadn’t before.
Rhetorical questions shouldn’t be too confusing. Use simple language & make sure it’s something that the audience can easily comprehend.
1. Mona Patel
Speech Ending: Pick your problem, ask “What if?” Come up with ideas. Bring them down. Then execute on them. Maybe you’re thinking, “What if we can’t?” I say to you, “What if we don’t?”
2. Lizzie Velasquez
Speech Ending: I want you to leave here and ask yourself what defines you. But remember: Brave starts here.
Another great way to end your speech with a literal bang is by using music! After all, if there’s something that can impact the human mind with just as much force as a few well-placed words, it’s the correct music.
How To Add Music To Your Speech Ending
To add music to your speech ending, you must make sure that the music has something to do with your speech theme. Remember that you’re not playing music in your concert. The piece of music that you choose must be relevant to your topic & work to have a contribution in your overall speech.
1. Tom Thum
Speech Ending: *ends the TED Talk with beat boxing*
16. Reitirate The Title
The title of your speech is its most important component. That’s why you need to pay careful attention to how you pick it, as it is something that your viewers will most likely remember the longest about your speech.
Your title will also act as a guiding hand towards how your audience forms an initial idea about your speech and is what they will associate your entire speech with.
By repeating your title at the end of your speech, you increase the chances that your audience will remember it–and your speech–for a long time.
How To Retierate The Title In Your Speech Ending
Your title is something that your audience associates your entire speech with. However, you don’t want to simply add the title in your speech end for the sake of adding it. Instead, make it flow naturally into your speech ending. This will make it seem less forced, and will also increase the chances of your audience remembering your entire speech ending and not just the title of your speech.
1. Ruairi Robertson
Speech Ending: I feel we can all contribute to this fight worth fighting for our own health, but more importantly, our future generations’ health by restoring the relationship between microbe and man. There is SOME FOOD FOR THOUGHT!
Need more inspiration for speech closing lines? Check out our article on 10 Of The Best Things To Say In Closing Remarks.
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To sum up, speech endings are just as imperative to the success of your speech as speech openings, and you must spend just as much time picking the perfect ending as you do to determine your best possible speech opening. The words you speak at the beginning and end of your speech are words that your audience will pay the most attention to, and remember longer than any other part of your speech.
Still looking for inspiration? Check out this video we made on closing remarks:
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9 Tips to End a Speech With a Bang
A good talk or public speech is like a good play, movie, or song.
It opens by arresting the listener’s attention, develops point by point, and then ends strongly.
The truth is, if you don’t know how to end a speech, the overall message won’t be persuasive and your key points may get lost.
The words you say at the beginning, and especially at the end of your talk, are usually the most persuasive parts of the speech and will be remembered longer than almost any other part of your speech.
Some of the great speeches in history and some of the most memorable Ted talks have ended with powerful, stirring words that live on in memory.
How do you end a speech and get the standing ovation that you deserve?
Keep reading to discover how…
Here are 9 tips and examples for concluding a speech.
1) Plan Your Closing Remarks Word for Word
To ensure that your conclusion is as powerful as it can be, you must plan it word for word.
Ask yourself, “What is the purpose of this talk?”
Your answer should involve the actions that you want your listeners to take after hearing you speak on this subject.
When you are clear about the end result you desire, it becomes much easier to design a conclusion that asks your listeners to take that action.
The best strategy for ending with a BANG is to plan your close before you plan the rest of your speech.
You then go back and design your opening so that it sets the stage for your conclusion.
The body of your talk is where you present your ideas and make your case for what you want the audience to think, remember, and do after hearing you speak.
2) Always End a Speech With a Call to Action
It is especially important to tell the audience what you want it to do as a result of hearing you speak.
A call to action is the best way to wrap up your talk with strength and power.
Here is a Speech Conclusion Call to Action Example
“We have great challenges and great opportunities, and with your help, we will meet them and make this next year the best year in our history!”
Whatever you say, imagine an exclamation point at the end. As you approach the conclusion, pick up your energy and tempo. This is even more important if the presentation you are giving is virtual .
Speak with strength and emphasis.
Drive the final point home.
Regardless of whether the audience participants agree with you or are willing to do what you ask, it should be perfectly clear to them what you are requesting.
3) End a Speech With a Summary
There is a simple formula for any talk:
- Tell them what you are going to tell them.
- Then, tell them what you told them.
As you approach the end of your talk, say something like,
“Let me briefly restate these main points…”
You then list your key points, one by one, and repeat them to the audience, showing how each of them links to the other points.
Audiences appreciate a linear repetition of what they have just heard.
This makes it clear that you are coming to the end of your talk.
4) Close with a story
As you reach the end of your talk, you can say,
“Let me tell you a story that illustrates what I have been talking about…”
You then tell a brief story with a moral and then tell the audience what the moral is.
Don’t leave it to them to figure out for themselves.
Often you can close with a story that illustrates your key points and then clearly links to the key message that you are making with your speech.
To learn more about storytelling in speaking, you can read my previous blog post “8 Public Speaking Tips to Wow Your Audience.”
Here’s a recap of these 4 tips in a video…
5) Make Them Laugh
You can close with humor.
You can tell a joke that loops back into your subject and repeats the lesson or main point you are making with a story that makes everyone laugh.
During my talks on planning and persistence, I discuss the biggest enemy that we have, which is the tendency to follow the path of least resistance. I then tell this story.
Ole and Sven are out hunting in Minnesota and they shoot a deer. They begin dragging the deer back to the truck by the tail, but they keep slipping and losing both their grip and their balance.
A farmer comes along and asks them, “What are you boys doing?”
They reply, “We’re dragging the deer back to the truck.”
The farmer tells them, “You are not supposed to drag a deer by the tail. You’re supposed to drag the deer by the handles. They’re called antlers. You’re supposed to drag a deer by the antlers.”
Ole and Sven say, “Thank you very much for the idea.”
They begin pulling the deer by the antlers. After about five minutes, they are making rapid progress. Ole says to Sven, “Sven, the farmer was right. It goes a lot easier by the antlers.”
Sven replies, “Yeah, but we’re getting farther and farther from the truck.”
After the laughter dies down, I say…
“The majority of people in life are pulling the easy way, but they are getting further and further from the ‘truck’ or their real goals and objectives.”
That’s just one example of closing using humor.
6) Make It Rhyme
You can close with a poem.
There are many fine poems that contain messages that summarize the key points you want to make.
You can select a poem that is moving, dramatic, or emotional.
For years I ended seminars with the poem, “Don’t Quit,” or “Carry On!” by Robert W. Service. It was always well received by the audience.
7) Close With Inspiration
You can end a speech with something inspirational as well.
If you have given an uplifting talk, remember that hope is and has always been, the main religion of mankind.
People love to be motivated and inspired to be or do something different and better in the future.
Here are a few of my favorite inspirational quotes that can be tied into most speeches. You can also read this collection of leadership quotes for further inspiration.
Remember, everyone in your audience is dealing with problems, difficulties, challenges, disappointments, setbacks, and temporary failures.
For this reason, everyone appreciates a poem, quote or story of encouragement that gives them strength and courage.
Here are 7 Tips to Tell an Inspiring Poem or Story to End Your Speech
- You have to slow down and add emotion and drama to your words.
- Raise your voice on a key line of the poem, and then drop it when you’re saying something that is intimate and emotional.
- Pick up the tempo occasionally as you go through the story or poem, but them slow down on the most memorable parts.
- Especially, double the number of pauses you normally use in a conversation.
- Use dramatic pauses at the end of a line to allow the audience to digest the words and catch up with you.
- Smile if the line is funny, and be serious if the line is more thought-provoking or emotional.
- When you come to the end of your talk, be sure to bring your voice up on the last line, rather than letting it drop. Remember the “exclamation point” at the end.
Try practicing on this poem that I referenced above…
Read through “Carry On!” by Robert Service .
Identify the key lines, intimate parts, and memorable parts, and recite it.
8) Make it Clear That You’re Done
When you say your final words, it should be clear to everyone that you have ended. There should be no ambiguity or confusion in the mind of your audience. The audience members should know that this is the end.
Many speakers just allow their talks to wind down.
They say something with filler words like, “Well, that just about covers it. Thank you.”
This isn’t a good idea…
It’s not powerful…
It’s not an authoritative ending and thus detracts from your credibility and influence.
When you have concluded, discipline yourself to stand perfectly still. Select a friendly face in the audience and look straight at that person.
If it is appropriate, smile warmly at that person to signal that your speech has come to an end.
Resist the temptation to:
- Shuffle papers.
- Fidget with your clothes or microphone.
- Move forward, backward, or sideways.
- Do anything else except stand solidly, like a tree.
9) Let Them Applaud
When you have finished your talk, the audience members will want to applaud…
What they need from you is a clear signal that now is the time to begin clapping.
How do you signal this?
Some people will recognize sooner than others that you have concluded your remarks.
In many cases, when you make your concluding comments and stop talking, the audience members will be completely silent.
They may be unsure whether you are finished.
They may be processing your final remarks and thinking them over. They may not know what to do until someone else does something.
In a few seconds, which will often feel like several minutes, people will applaud.
Then the entire audience will begin clapping.
When someone begins to applaud, look directly at that person, smile, and mouth the words thank you.
As more and more people applaud, sweep slowly from person to person, nodding, smiling and saying, “Thank You.”
Eventually, the whole room will be clapping.
There’s no better reward for overcoming your fear of public speaking than enjoying a round of applause.
BONUS TIP: How to Handle a Standing Ovation
If you have given a moving talk and really connected with your audience, someone will stand up and applaud. When this happens, encourage others by looking directly at the clapper and saying, “Thank you.”
This will often prompt other members of the audience to stand.
As people see others standing, they will stand as well, applauding the whole time.
It is not uncommon for a speaker to conclude his or her remarks, stand silently, and have the entire audience sit silently in response.
Stand Comfortably and Shake Hands
But as the speaker stands there comfortably, waiting for the audience to realize the talk is over, one by one people will begin to applaud and often stand up one by one.
If the first row of audience members is close in front of you, step or lean forward and shake that person’s hand when one of them stands up to applaud.
When you shake hands with one person in the audience, many other people in the audience feel that you are shaking their hands and congratulating them as well.
They will then stand up and applaud.
Soon the whole room will be standing and applauding.
Whether you receive a standing ovation or not, if your introducer comes back on to thank you on behalf of the audience, smile and shake their hand warmly.
If it’s appropriate, give the introducer a hug of thanks, wave in a friendly way to the audience, and then move aside and give the introducer the stage.
Follow these tips to get that standing ovation every time.
« Previous Post 8 Public Speaking Techniques to Wow Your Audience Next Post » 15 Ways to Start a Speech + Bonus Tips
About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Twitter , Facebook , Pinterest , Linkedin and Youtube .
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9 Closing a Speech: End with Power and Let Them Know It is Time to Clap
Open Your Speech With a Bang Close It With a Slam-Dunk Westside Toastmasters
“Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending,” according to poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The first few words of your speech make the audience want to listen and the last few sentences help them decide what they feel about you and your topic. In this chapter, I will explain the function of a conclusion, the format of a conclusion, and I will give you numerous examples of ways to end your speech. Most of this chapter is dedicated to showing you good examples of different types of speech closings. Let’s get started by talking about the purpose of the closing.
A Strong Closing Does Many Things
- Summarizes the points. By restating your points your audience is more likely to remember them.
- Tells the audience when to clap. Let’s face it, it is so awkward when you are done with your speech, and no one claps. Being clear the end is near, relieves the audience of the pressure of wondering if they are clapping at the right time.
- Provides resolution. Your speech should give the audience a sense of resolve or a sense of being challenged.
The Formula for Closing Most Speeches
- Transition statement to ending.
- Review the main points–repeat the thesis.
- If it is a persuasive speech, tell the audience what you want them to do or think.
- Provide a closing statement.
Restate the Thesis
Tell them what you are going to say, say it, tell them what you have said. This speech pattern is useful in most types of speeches because it helps the speaker to remember your key points. As you build your closing, make sure you restate the thesis. A good rule of thumb is to write it in such a way that if the audience were asked to restate the main points, their answer would match closely with your thesis.
EXAMPLE Watch as Stella Young gives her thesis and then restates her thesis at the end of the speech as she wraps up. The thesis of the talk in the introduction: We’ve been sold the lie that disability is a Bad Thing, capital B, capital T. It’s a bad thing, and to live with a disability makes you exceptional. It’s not a bad thing, and it doesn’t make you exceptional. Restates the thesis of the talk at the closing: Disability doesn’t make you exceptional but questioning what you think you know about it does.
Stella Young, I’m not your inspiration, thank you very much. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtPGrLoU5Uk
This next example is from a student’s speech. It is easy to pull out one sentence that clearly summarizes the main points of her speech. Following her summary, she winds the speech down into a thoughtful conclusion and ends with three powerful words.
Now is the time to separate the war on drugs from the war on addiction. T oday you’ve heard the problems, impacts, and solutions of criminalizing addictions. Bruce Callis is 50 years old now. And he is still struggling with his addiction. while you all are sitting out there listening to this, I’m living with it. Bruce Callis is my father and for my entire life, I have watched our misguided system destroy him. The irony here is that we live in a society where we are told to recycle. We recycle paper, aluminum, and electronics. But why don’t we ever consider recycling them most precision think on Earth– the human life. Student Tunnette Powell, Winner of the 2012 Interstate Oratorical Association Contest.
After you restate your thesis, you should carefully deliver your closing phrases. Your closing should provide a resolution to your speech and/or it should challenge the audience. Frantically Speaking writer Hrideep Barot suggests “a conclusion is like tying a bow or ribbon to a box of your key ideas that your audience will be taking along with them.”
A speech closing is not just about the words you say, but it is also the way you say it. Change the pace near the end of your speech. Let your tone alone should signal the end is near. It is about deliberate voice control, don’t let your voice weakly away.
In the next section, I will cover these ways to end your speech:
End with powerful words End with a quote End with a graphic End with parallel construction End on a positive note End with a challenge End with a question End with inspiration End with well-wishing End with humor End with a call to action End with a feeling of resolve End with a prop
The best way to teach you about advanced closings is to show not tell. For this section, I will briefly explain each type of closing and then provide a video. Each video is queued so you can play the video and watch the closing statement. I included a transcript under each video if you want to follow along. It will be most beneficial for you to watch the clip and not just read the text. By watching, you will have a chance to hear the subtle changes in the speaker’s voice as they deliver their closing statements.
End with Powerful Words
As you design your closing, look at the last three to five words and examine them to see if they are strong words. Oftentimes, you can rearrange a sentence to end with a powerful word. (I have the video cued to play just the closing)
Watch this clip for how BJ Miller ends with a powerful thought and a powerful word.
Parts of me died early on, and that’s something we can all say one way or another. I got to redesign my life around this fact, and I tell you it has been a liberation to realize you can always find a shock of beauty or meaning in what life you have left, like that snowball lasting for a perfect moment, all the while melting away. If we love such moments ferociously, then maybe we can learn to live well — not in spite of death, but because of it. Let death be what takes us, not lack of imagination. BJ Miller, What Really Matters at the End of Life
End by Circling Back to the Opening
Another type of ending is to circle back to what you said in the beginning. You can revisit a quote, share the end to an illustration that was begun in the beginning, or you can put away a prop you got out in the beginning.
Watch this clip for how Zubing Zhang begins and ends with the same quote to circle back around to the main idea.
She starts by telling a story of bungee jumping off the world’s highest platform and how she saw a sign with a quote that says, “Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.” After telling her own story about pushing her emotional limits, she circles back around at the end by saying, “As the words said high on the bungee platform, “Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.”
Yubing Zhang, Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone.
End With Quote
If you end your speech with a quote, attend to the following.
- Always say the author of the quote before the quote for example, “I want to leave you with a leadership quote ‘What you do has far greater impact than what you say,’ Steven Covey.” The problem with this ending is that “Stephen Covey” are the last two words of the speech and that is boring. Consider instead this ending. “I think Robin Sharma said it best ‘Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence, and inspiration.'” In this arrangement, the last three words are powerful–influence and inspiration.
- Provided context for the quote before or after. Make sure the quote is meaningful and not just an easy way to end.
Watch this clip for how Sir Ken Robinson ends with a quote. Notice how he says the author and then the quote.
Also, notice how he then ties his speech to the quote with a final few sentences and ends with the powerful word–“revolution” and how he uses a strong vocal emphasis as he says his last word. (I have the video cued to play just the closing)
There’s a wonderful quote from Benjamin Franklin. “There are three sorts of people in the world: Those who are immovable, people who don’t get it, or don’t want to do anything about it; there are people who are movable, people who see the need for change and are prepared to listen to it; and there are people who move, people who make things happen.” And if we can encourage more people, that will be a movement. And if the movement is strong enough, that’s, in the best sense of the word, a revolution. And that’s what we need.
Sir Ken Robinson, How to Escape Education’s Death Valley.
End with a Graphic
You might want to use a visual to make your final point. Bringing in a picture, graphic, or object, reengages the audience to pay attention to your final ideas.
Watch this clip for how Barry Schartz uses the magic words “so to conclude” and then he creatively uses a picture of a fishbowl to narrow in on his point. Notice how his final word is spoken with urgency as he says “disaster.” (I have the video cued to play just the closing)
So, to conclude. (He shows a picture of fish in a fishbowl) He says, “You can be anything you want to be — no limits.” You’re supposed to read this cartoon and, being a sophisticated person, say, “Ah! What does this fish know? Nothing is possible in this fishbowl.” Impoverished imagination, a myopic view of the world –that’s the way I read it at first. The more I thought about it, however, the more I came to the view that this fish knows something. Because the truth of the matter is, if you shatter the fishbowl so that everything is possible, you don’t have freedom. You have paralysis. If you shatter this fishbowl so that everything is possible, you decrease satisfaction. You increase paralysis, and you decrease satisfaction. Everybody needs a fishbowl. This one is almost certainly too limited –perhaps even for the fish, certainly for us. But the absence of some metaphorical fishbowl is a recipe for misery and, I suspect, disaster. Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice
End with Parallel Construction
Parallel construction is a series of repeated phrases. It can be a powerful tool to use in a persuasive speech as it creates a feeling of importance.
Watch this clip for how Malala Yousafzai ends with a series of parallel statements to build momentum. Notice how her pace perfectly matches her words and you feel her strength when she ends with “education first.” (I have the video cued to play just the closing)
Dear brothers and sisters, we must not forget that millions of people are suffering from poverty, injustice, and ignorance. We must not forget that millions of children are out of schools. We must not forget that our sisters and brothers are waiting for a bright peaceful future. So let us wage a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty, and terrorism, and let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one pen, and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education First.
Malala Yousafzai, United Nations Youth Assembly
End on a Positive Note
Audiences are constantly evaluating a speaker to determine their attitude and motivation. As you consider your speech closing, ask yourself what type of impression do you want to leave? Do you want to leave them with depression or hope? Sadness or promise? Most of the time, audiences will receive messages that end positively better than speeches that end negatively.
In this speech sample, Hans Rosling showed the audience some hard statistics and he even pointed fingers at the audience as part of the problem. To help them hear his main point, he wisely ends on a positive note.
Watch this clip for how Hans Rosling ends this thought-provoking talk on a positive note. (I have the video cued to play just the closing)
Now, when thinking about where all this leaves us, I have just one little humble advice for you, besides everything else, look at the data. Look at the facts about the world and you will see where we are today and how we can move forwards with all these billions on our wonderful planet. The challenge of extreme poverty has been greatly reduced and it’s for the first time in history within our power to end it for good. The challenge of population growth is, in fact, already being solved, the number of children has stopped growing. And for the challenge for climate change, we can still avoid the worst, but that requires the richest, as soon as possible, find a way to use their set their use of resources and energy at a level that, step by step, can be shared by 10 billion or 11 billion by the end of this century. I’ve never called myself an optimist, but I do say I’m a possibilist and I also say the world is much better than many of you think.
Hans Rosling, Facts about the Population.
End with a Challenge
Leave the audience with a doable personal challenge. Help them mentally make sense of all the information that you shared by helping them know how to file it away and how to use it.
Watch this clip for how Melissa Butler ends with a challenge. (I have the video cued to play just the closing)
So, I challenge each of you, when you go home today, look at yourself in the mirror, see all of you, look at all of your greatness that you embody, accept it, and love it. And finally, when you leave the house tomorrow, try to extend that same love and acceptance to someone who doesn’t look like you . Melissa Butler, Why You Think You’re Ugly.
Watch this clip as Darren LaCroix literally falls face down to anchor the point that when we fall, we “fall forward.” (I have the video cued to play just the closing)
Darren LaCroix talks about taking risks and falling down and getting back up, he literally and purposefully falls down during his speech and ends this way: What’s your next step… take it. I didn’t want to look back at my life and say you know I never did try that comedy thing, but I died debt-free. All of us are headed toward that goal we are going to teach a point where we get stuck and our feet are like in cement and we can’t move but we’re so afraid of that ouch but we forget that if we lean forward and take a risk–(He falls face down) and we fall on our face. When we get up, notice, you still made progress. So please, with me, go ahead and fall. But fall forward. Darren LaCroiz, Winning Speech delivered at National Speech Association
End with a Question
Asking a question at the end is one way to reengage the audience. It helps them think about what your topic might mean for them.
Watch this clip for how David Eagleman reminds us about why his topic is important and then ends with a question. Notice how he pauses before his final question and how he changes the pace of his speech for the final sentence. (I have the video cued to play just the closing)
So I think there’s really no end to the possibilities on the horizon for human expansion. Just imagine an astronaut being able to feel the overall health of the International Space Station, or, for that matter, having you feel the invisible states of your own health, like your blood sugar and the state of your microbiome, or having 360-degree vision or seeing in infrared or ultraviolet. So the key is this: As we move into the future, we’re going to increasingly be able to choose our own peripheral devices. We no longer have to wait for Mother Nature’s sensory gifts on her timescales, but instead, like any good parent, she’s given us the tools that we need to go out and define our own trajectory. So the question now is, how do you want to go out and experience your universe?
David Eagleman, Can We Create New Senses for Humans?
Watch this clip for how Lera Boroditsky ends with a personal note and a powerful final question. (I have the video cued to play just the closing)
I want to leave you with this final thought. I’ve told you about how speakers of different languages think differently, but of course, that’s not about how people elsewhere think. It’s about how you think. It’s how the language that you speak shapes the way that you think. And that gives you the opportunity to ask, “Why do I think the way that I do?” “How could I think differently?” And also, “What thoughts do I wish to create?” Lera Boroditsky, How Language Shapes the Way We Think
End with Inspiration
“Inspiring your audience is all about helping them see their own vision, not yours.”
You may want to end your speech with inspiring and encouraging words. Pick words that resonate with most of your audience and deliver them in such a way that your audience feels your lift in emotion.
Watch this clip for how Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ends with an inspiring final note and a powerful last few words “regain a kind of paradise” (I have the video cued to play just the closing)
Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.
I would like to end with this thought: That when we reject the single-story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Danger of a Single Story
Watch this clip for how Dan Pink ends with an inspiring final note. (I have the video cued to play just the closing) Let me wrap up. There is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does. Here is what science knows. One: Those 20th century rewards, those motivators we think are a natural part of business, do work, but only in a surprisingly narrow band of circumstances. Two: Those if-then rewards often destroy creativity. Three: The secret to high performance isn’t rewards and punishments, but that unseen intrinsic drive– the drive to do things for their own sake. The drive to do things cause they matter.
And here’s the best part. We already know this. The science confirms what we know in our hearts. So, if we repair this mismatch between what science knows and what business does, if we bring our motivation, notions of motivation into the 21st century, if we get past this lazy, dangerous, ideology of carrots and sticks, we can strengthen our businesses, we can solve a lot of those candle problems, and maybe, maybe — we can change the world. I rest my case. Dan Pink, The Puzzle of Motivation
End with Well Wishing
There are several types of closings where the speaker wished the audience well.
The Benediction Close: M ay God bless and keep you…. The Presidential Close: God bless you and may God bless the USA The Congratulatory Close: I congratulate you on your accomplishment and wish you continued success.
End with Humor
You can end on a fun lighthearted note. It is important to always run your humor by a variety of people to make sure you are funny, and your humor is appropriate.
Watch this clip for how Andrew Dunham uses humor throughout his speech and ends with a funny one-liner. (I have the video cued to play just the closing)
I wish you all the best as we begin this journey on our paths and I sincerely hope and pray that your time and success have proven to be as memorable and spiritually rewarding as mine. If not, there’s always summer school.
Andrew Dunham, Valedictorian Comes Out As Autistic During Speech
End with a Call to Action
If you are delivering a persuasive speech, let the audience know exactly what you want them to do.
End with a Feeling of Resolve
Paul Harvey made famous the line “And now you know…the rest of the story.” Your closing should allow us to know the rest of the story or to know how a situation was resolved.
Watch this clip for how Lucy Hone ends this tough but inspiring talk with a feeling of resolve (I have the video cued to play just the closing)
https://youtu.be/9-5SMpg7Q0k?t=913 If you ever find yourself in a situation where you think there’s no way I’m coming back from this, I urge you to lean into these strategies and think again. I won’t pretend that thinking this way is easy and it doesn’t remove all the pain. But if I’ve learned anything over the last five years, it is that thinking this way really does help. More than anything it has shown me that it is possible to live and grieve at the same time. And for that I will be always grateful. Lucy Hone, The Three Secrets of Resilient People
End with a Prop
Nancy Duarte says you should give your audience, SOMETHING THEY will ALWAYS REMEMBER–S.T.A.R. One way to do that is with an action or statement that will have the audience talking about it for a long time. President Obama did it with a mic drop.
Memorize Your Conclusion
End on time.
Do not diminish the effect of a great speech with a bloated, aimless conclusion. Dan Rothwell.
“Times about up.”
Don’t end with any references to time. It is like a giant stop sign saying, “stop listening.” Don’t highlight that you ran over time or that it is almost time for lunch. You want them to think about your speech, not the clock.
You want them to feel a sense of closure for your speech. End with something powerful and let them applaud. After the applause, you can offer to answer questions. Similarly, projecting your last slide with the words, “Any Questions” is a weak ending.
“Let Me Add This Point I Missed”
If you forget something in the body of your speech, it is usually best to leave it out. Most of the time you are the only one who will miss it.
“Thank You to the Team”
There is a time to thank the organizers and those who helped you but it is not at the end of your speech. Your focus should be on your audience and what they need and what they need to hear is your idea. Send a thank you letter to the team if you want them to feel your appreciation.
“Sorry again for the technology issue,” “I apologize for going over time, ” “I regret I have no answer to this.” These are all negative phrases. Keep to your topic that is what they need to hear and stay focused.
“I’ll Close with this Video”
No, you should close with talking about the big idea.
If you don’t have a plan at the end, you will ramble. “Steer clear of meandering endings they kill a story,” according to the Moth Storytelling website. “Your last line should be clear in your head before you start. Yes, bring the audience along with you as you contemplate what transpires in your story, but remember, you are driving the story, and must know the final destination. Keep your hands on the wheel!”
To Thank or Not to Thank, That is the Question
There is a debate amongst speech professionals, speech teachers, and speech coaches about whether or not you should thank the audience. Here are their main arguments.
Why You Should Not Say Thank You
- You want to end with powerful words. “Thank you” are not strong words.
- The recency effect suggests they will remember the last words you spoke. You want them to remember more than just “thank you.”
- It is not a very creative way to end.
- It can be a sign of a lazy speaker, “I have no idea how to end this, I’ve run out of good things to say so I’ll say ‘Thank you’ so you will clap now.”
Why You Should Say Thank You
- It has come to be the expected ending in many settings. Violating their expectations can cause them to have a negative reaction.
- It clearly signals you are finished so the audience knows when to clap. The relieves the pressure from both you and the audience.
- It expresses gratitude.
I will leave it up to you to decide what works for you. As for me, I plan on trying to find more creative ways to end other than just saying “thank you.”
Maximizing the Primacy Recency Effect
If I were to read you a list of thirty things on my grocery list and then asked you to list all that you can remember, chances are you would remember the first times on the list and the last items on the list ( and any ones you found interesting from the middle). When people engage in listening, they tend to remember the first and last things they hear, it is called the primacy-recency effect. T his is just one more reason that your introduction and conclusion should be so well planned out. It is those first words and last words that the audience is going to remember.
The primacy recency effect influences, not only what people pay attention to in a speech, but also which speech we pay the most attention to in a series of speeches. For example, if there is a lineup of six speakers, the first and last speakers tend to get the most attention.
As a speaker, you can use this information to your advantage by volunteering to go first or last. If you are giving a long presentation, you can break it up by allowing the audience to move around or talk to a neighbor. When you come back from break, you have re-engaged that primacy effect and moved them back to a high state of attention.
Do You Have Everything You Need for a Strong Closing?
- Have I signaled my speech is coming to an end with my words or my voice?
- Have I restated my main points?
- If I am persuading my audience, do they know what I want them to do or think?
- Have I written the last three to five words in such a way that I end with powerful words?
- Have I memorized my closing?
Getting Off the Platform is Part of Your Closing
Plan on making a strong exit. Whether you are stepping off a stage or simply going to your seat, you should consider that the audience is watching you.
I have had students who finished their speech and then walked over to the trashcan and in a large, exaggerated movement, they threw their notecards in the trash. In our minds, we threw their message away with those cards. I’ve seen speakers, sit in their chairs and then announce, “I can’t believe my hands were shaking so much.” I’ve sat there and thought, “I didn’t notice.” I then realized that the comments they made influenced my perception of them and my perception of their topic.
You said your last word and the audience is applauding, now what? Look at your audience and smile and nod in appreciation before walking off the stage. If you will be answering questions, wait until after the applause stops to begin your question and answering period.
When practicing your speech, it is a good idea to start from your chair, walk up to a spot and then give your speech, and then walk back to your chair and sit down. Your “speech” impression begins and ends from your chair.
- A speech closing should include a review of the main points and a purposeful closing sentence.
- Persuasive speech endings should tell the audience specifically what they should do or think about.
- The recency effect suggests that people remember the most recent things they have heard which is one reason the closing is so important.
- Chance the pace of your speech and the tone of your voice to signal the end of the speech.
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- Audience clapping © Alex Motoc is licensed under a CC BY (Attribution) license
- jose-aragones-81QkOoPGahY-unsplash © Jose Aragones is licensed under a CC BY (Attribution) license
Advanced Public Speaking Copyright © 2021 by Lynn Meade is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.