4 fantastic ways to close a speech

Remember the feeling you get when your team scores the winning point in the last second of the game? That’s how your audience should feel after you speak.

The walk-off home run is one of the biggest moments you can have in baseball.

For non-sports fans, the walk-off home run happens when a player hits a home run in the bottom of the final inning that instantly ends the game. It’s called a “walk-off” because both teams walk off the field immediately after it happens—the game is over.

It’s as exciting a finish as you can have.

That’s the type of excitement you should strive for when you deliver a speech. You want to walk off that stage with your audience blown away by what just happened. You want to leave the audience wanting more. You want to, as George Costanza once said, “leave on a high note.”

That’s often easier said than done. Many people struggle to cap off their speeches with a bang. Instead, they risk undoing everything they said up until that point by ruining the ending.

A bad ending truly can negate everything else. People remember what you said last, and if you don’t get it right, the rest of your speech might not matter all that much.

With that in mind, here are some tips to help you close your speech in the best way possible:

1. Make your point with a story.

I’m a big fan of using personal anecdotes in speeches for a couple of reasons.

First, it adds an authentic touch to your speech. Your audience will feel more connected to you when you reveal something personal about yourself. They’ll be able to relate to the story and you, and will listen more closely to what you have to say.

Second, anecdotes are an effective teaching tool. A relevant story can be the perfect vehicle to make your point in a way your audience can easily understand.

2. Refer back to your opening.

Great speeches often use the bookend approach. In other words, the speaker opens up with a story, quote, metaphor, or powerful statement, and closes the speech by referring back to that opening. It puts a neat bow on the speech and achieves symmetry. It’s a good way to make sure you drill your main point into the heads of your listeners.

3. Give your audience a challenge.

If you’re trying to influence your audience to do something, close your speech by challenging them to do it. You can see that tactic a lot right now since it is election season. The candidates often close their speeches by challenging their audiences to get off their butts, vote, and make their voices heard.

4. Use a quote.

Is it trite to use a quote to close your speech? Maybe, but if you choose one that evokes a strong emotional response from your audience, it can be an effective way to end your speech. It all comes down to choosing the right quote to make your point and motivate your audience.

Do you have any tips for closing out a speech? Share your best tips below.

Mickie Kennedy is the CEO and founder of eReleases and blogs at PR Fuel, where a version of this article originally appeared.

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Topics: PR


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