Deliver A Powerful Ending to Your Speech Every Time

This month’s question:

“When writing my speech, I know I need a powerful ending that makes my listeners sit up and take notice so they walk out feeling ‘sold’ on my core message. But how do I deliver a winning windup every time?”

Response from the editors:

Follow these tips to write a powerful ending that leaves a lasting impression on your audience.

  1. Keep it short. When you say “In conclusion,” make sure you mean it. You will lose your audience’s attention if you ramble on after announcing that you’re about to finish.
  2. Review, but don’t rewind. Don’t inject new material into your concluding remarks, even if you think of additional data to support your earlier points. The purpose of your conclusion is to summarize main points, reiterate your general purpose and deliver an exit line that spurs your audience to act.
  3. Stay connected. For maximum impact, deliver your conclusion without reading it, and instead focus on making meaningful eye contact. Move from behind the lectern and toward your audience as you speak to strengthen the connection you’ve created with your audience.

A reader asks:

“I am in the unenviable position of having to speak after a long list of people. Any suggestions on how to revive the audience for my presentation?”

February’s Poll Results:

In last month’s poll, we asked “How many speaking engagements do you have in one year? The majority of you said you deliver six to 10 speeches each year. It’s easy to become bogged down trying to come up with a lively opening for each of those speeches. Here are two attention-getting devices to capture your audience’s interest at the outset:

  • Ask a question. Engage your audience by asking them a thought-provoking question like “If you were trapped on an island and could have only three things, what three things would you choose?” Your listeners will not only begin thinking about how they would answer but also will wonder how the question will tie into the presentation—which, by the way, it must.
  • Use a startling statistic. For a presentation on drunk driving, you might begin with “In the 30 minutes it will take me to deliver this presentation, two people in the United States will die in an alcohol-related traffic accident.” Note: When using statistics, round the numbers, cite your sources and be sure to present current and accurate information.

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Delivered each month, American Speaker Forum offers you public-speaking advice and tips for wowing your audience during your next presentation. This resource also offers you a way to ask for feedback on your next speaking engagement and to share your own experience with your colleagues.


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