In speaking we have to understand that audiences remember best what they hear first and what they hear last. Therefore, the way we open a speech is critical and the way we close it is just as important. There are 3 tools you can use to make sure your closing makes an impact.
3 Keys to a Powerful Closing
1. The Signal
Signal that you are closing. Like I say in my speeches, “Always tell your audience when you’re closing so they’ll listen again.” It’s true. Audiences won’t always listen to every single thing you say. Sometimes their minds might wander. However, when you tell them you’re closing, they perk up and peak up and they think, “He’ll probably be summing up the message now.”
How do you do this? I like to paint a picture by saying, “Let’s wrap up this message…” or “As we wrap up this message…” or “as we bring this event to a close…” What you want to guard against is the old, “In conclusion” or “In summary.” Be more creative than that. Your speech deserves it.
2. The Call Backs
As we close we should also call back to our main points and anything else that might be worth revisiting. For example, with my 4 Rs to Remarkable Results, it goes something like this:
“So you face reality with whatever measurement scale you’re using, because you master what you measure. Once you face reality you have to relinquish what’s in the way, because you’re either on the way or in the way. Then you rely on the process of change by creating a vision that keeps people fired up rather than fed up. And finally, you reform to a better way. Is it by changing everything at once? No, it’s by changing small and changing often. So you have the message, but what about the motivation?”
As you can see I called back to my main points (i.e. the 4 Rs) and revisited some of the memorable lines of the speech. In fact, because I do call backs throughout my speech, by the time I reach the end, my audience usually says the phrases along with me. That’s powerful because, if they say it, they buy into it.
3. The Closing Bang
Once you signal that you are closing and you call back to your main points, you must finish with a bang. In my experience, the very best way to finish a speech is the same as the very best way to open one and that’s with a powerful story. What should this closing story do? It should give hope. Hope for what? Hope that your process or formula or main points of advice will work for them. For example, I often end with a story about how I went from being a kid with a speech impediment that had others refer to me as Daffy Duck to me changing and growing into the World Champion of Public Speaking. The 4Rs were my process. When my audience realizes the 4Rs worked for me, they gain hope that the 4 Rs will work for them too. Close with a story that gives hope. That’s a great way to leave your audience.
For more on how to master openings, closings, and everything in-between, visit http://www.createyourkeynote.com/
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