How to Review before you Wrap Up (and get re-hired because of it)

If you’ve been studying my materials, then you already know not to end your speech with the questions and answers section. Instead, if you’re going to have a Q&A, do it before you wrap up in your own powerful way.

However, there is also something else that must be done before you close your speech and that’s the review. Most speakers will review by saying something like this:

So in conclusion, you must face reality, relinquish what is in the way, rely on the process, and reform to a better way.


And then they’ll close the speech with a story or in another powerful way. This is fine but there are issues with it.

  1. The audience members are not involved as much as they should be
  2. Your audience might still doubt your message
  3. The energy might not be as high as it should be
  4. It’s just content but not connection


Here’s a Very Powerful Way to Review the Content in your Speech

Use what I call the Discuss and Debrief method of reviewing your material. Here’s how it goes. I say something like the following:

Take the next 60 seconds, turn to a neighbor and tell him or her one or two ideas you got from this program.

This is the Discussion part of the Discuss and Debrief method. Then, once the 60 seconds are up, I say

Okay, times up. What did you come up with? Go ahead and shout out some of the ideas that stuck with you.

This is the Debrief part of the Discuss and Debrief formula.

It is absolutely amazing what happens when you do this method. Ideas start popping out in droves and you can barely capture them all. This is a good thing. For example, last week I gave a speech at the Illegal Substance Collections Unit (ISCU) in Washington DC and when I came to this review, twenty-one ideas popped out within a couple of minutes. In fact, the only reason we stopped is so I could move on to my closing.

So let’s take a quick look at the advantages of this method:

  1. They feel validated because they have had time to check-in and discuss with their neighbors about what they picked up so the fear of shouting out the wrong answer goes away. That’s why the ideas pop out so fast.
  2. They loosen up their minds during the discussion part. This is much better than simply turning to your audience (without having the discussion portion) and saying, “So what did you get from the program today?” I’ve seen many cases where very few ideas are shouted out and it makes the speaker look bad. Also, keep in mind the meeting planner is often looking at this and realizing that very little value has transferred.
  3. They buy into the message more readily. I always remember Tom Hopkins, author of How to Master the Art of Selling, saying the following (I am paraphrasing here): If I say it, they can doubt me, but if they say it it’s true. In other words, getting them to say the message is much more powerful than simply saying it myself.
  4. You get re-hired more. Why? Because the meeting planner is often in the room watching this transference of value take place. For example, after my speech at the ISCU last week, the meeting planner approached me and said, “We are excited about using you again very soon.” Oftentimes when you look at the meeting planner during the review when all these ideas are resurfacing, he or she has a grin from ear to ear because the value is evident in the retention of the material.
  5. Your audience retains more of your message. This is because audience members often miss points the first time around. However, when they hear that same point from another audience member (and perhaps they hear how that audience member plans to implement it), they can then underline that point and see possibilities for putting it into action too.
  6. The energy rises. When you get this kind of activity, the energy increases, which is important because there should be high energy as you move into the closing of your speech.
  7. They feel good about giving a good response!


Twos Key to Using this Discuss and Debrief Method for Maximum Impact

You now know to have your audience discuss with their neighbors and then debrief with you as a group. However, when you debrief, I suggest following two very important guidelines to help your audience internalize your message.

Guideline #1: Rephrase their responses.

For example, here are some of the responses people gave the other day at ISCU when we debriefed. After you see each of their responses, you’ll see how I rephrased it to help drive home the messages.

Again I started off by saying, “Okay, times up. What did you come up with? Go ahead and shout out some of the ideas that stuck with you.”

Them: “You said to make them feel important”

Me: “That’s right, because when you make them feel visible, they make you valuable”

Them: “Don’t make excuses for their behavior”

Me: “Absolutely, because when you make excuses for someone, you invite him never to change”

Them: “We have to get out of the way of change”

Me: “Because you’re either on the way or in the way”

The reason it is important to rephrase their responses is so that your Foundational Phrases will stick with them over time. Three days or three months down the line when they find themselves on the brink of making excuses for someone’s behavior, they should remember my Foundational Phrase and hopefully change their approach.

 Guideline #2: Stop while they Pop

During the debrief part of the formula, you’re audience will shout out many ideas. One idea after another will pop out. So when do you stop the debriefing and move on to your closing? I suggest cutting them off while the ideas are still popping out. Why? Because, like the good magician, you want to leave them wanting more. This is much better than waiting until all the ideas pop out, which is followed by uncomfortable silence and brain strain. Stop it while they pop.

It’s like the other night when I made microwave popcorn and the directions said to turn off the microwave once the pops slowed down to 2 seconds in between each one. Otherwise, if you keep them popping, you’ll burn them. Likewise, once you see any kind of slowing down in how long it takes your audience to pop out ideas, stop and move to your closing. This keeps the energy high, doesn’t burn them out, and ensures they retain the ideas that truly mean the most to them.

Final thoughts:

If you want to get re-hired time and time again, use this Discuss and Debrief method and watch your calendar fill up!

Craig Valentine

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