Closing your speech with impact can open doors of opportunities because what you say last determines how your audience members feel once they leave your speech.
You can give a wonderful speech but, if the ending is weak, your audience will walk away feeling like the speech wasn’t very strong. So here are 4 keys you can use to strengthen your closing and your speech.
Key #1 Signal
Before you close your speech, you should signal that you are closing. Tell the audience that the end is near. However, you want to be more creative than saying, “In conclusion” or “In summary.”
I like to use picture words such as “Let’s wrap things up” or “As we come to the end of the road” or even “In closing (you can still picture something closing).” Whatever you do, let them know you are closing because here’s what will happen:
They’ll listen again!
That’s right. People have been trained to know that your closing means you are most likely going to reiterate your message and so their antennas go up.
Key #2 Call back
As you move into your closing, make sure you call back to each of the major points you made. For example, listen to this quick wrap-up of a message I gave once to an audience in Oklahoma.
You just heard me call back to 3 Ls (and it was the first time I ever gave that keynote). There is also another very important way to review your message. Have THEM say it! I blogged about this before, so click this link (http://bit.ly/drg9O3) for details on how you get your audience to say your message.
Key #3 Questions and Answers (Q & A)
You have probably heard me say, “Never end with the Q & A.” Why? It’s because people remember best what they hear first and what they hear last. Your message needs to be the absolute last thing in their ears. Therefore, it’s great to have a Q & A, but just don’t end with it. Have it about 90% of the way through your speech.
Key #4 Give a Lasting Anchor
Finally, once you’ve signaled that you’re closing, called back to your major points, and held a Q & A if appropriate, it’s time to move into your lasting anchor, which will most likely be a story. However, just like you should have been doing throughout your entire speech before you transitioned into the next point, it’s extremely important to tease them before you tell them. In other words, they already have your message so why should they listen to your final story? The answer is the tease.
Tease them to let them know what’s in it for them to stick around mentally for this last piece. Listen to how I tease and then go into my final story.
Once you tease them before you tell them, give them a powerful closing story that provides them with hope and proof that your message will work for them.
When you close with impact, you open more doors for your message and for you.
Can you give me an example of how you signal that you’re closing? Or simply leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.