6 memorable ways to close a speech

You’ve got a dynamite opening and a brilliantly-reasoned argument. Now how do you end the speech?

The closing of a speech should be “stirring, inspirational, and upbeat,” says Robert Rackleff, former Jimmy Carter speechwriter. “Even if the speech has scared the hell out of everybody with gloom and doom, you should always try to leave the audience with hope that salvation is possible.” Here are some of Rackleff’s ways to dress up the ending.

1. Joke

An appropriate joke can let the audience relax and renew its attention to your remarks. “A laugh or a chuckle here can help signal the end of the body of a speech, and lets the audience shift gears for the rest of the ending.” One of Rackleff’s favorites: “I might want to show I’m smart enough to know when I’ve taken up enough time with this comment from the opera composer Rossini: ‘Richard Wagner has wonderful moments, but awful quarter hours.'”

2. Personal anecdote

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