How to Close Your Speech With Power

August 12, 2015

closing-speech blogYour speech is going great. You've opened with a bang and have hit all your key points. As you look out at the audience, they are on the edge of their seats; they’re nodding, and engrossed with every word that you say.

You’re about out of time, and you need to wrap it up. So you say:

-“Who has questions for me?”

-“Well, that's all I have for you."

-"Thanks for your time."

-“Buy my stuff.”

If you ended your presentation with one of these statements before, then you’ve  blown your close. All that great wax poetic is for naught.

I’ll admit that I've said all of those phrases at one point in my speaking career. I'm most guilty of ending with Q&A. The problem: I sent my audience out remembering some wing-nut question instead of giving them a message that impacts their life. Afterwards, I knew that I blew it with my audience when I heard them talking about the question instead of my message.

Your conclusion is the most valuable real estate in any speech. Why? Your audience remembers MOST what they hear LAST. Social psychologists call this "The Recency Effect."  And because of this psychological gem, you need to write a conclusion that leaves a lasting impression.

How do you do that? There are three parts to a conclusion that gets remembered and helps your message spread. Read on.

1. Give a memorable summary

The main purpose of your conclusion is to signal that the end is near. You’re about to wrap it up, and you’re not going to be giving any more new information.

You’ve probably heard this quote from Dale Carnegie:

“Tell the audience what you're going to say, say it; then tell them what you've said.”

While repetition is good thing, a summary that merely repeats your main points is a snooze fest.

You want to be creative. Don't say, "In summary, I discussed this, that, and that other forgettable thing." First, it's not conversational. Second, it's not memorable. Third, it’s boring. Think about how you can use a story to summarize your core message or a metaphor. Be creative. The conclusion is not the place to skimp on creative impact.

In my presentations, I’ve been experimenting with a technique where the last story I tell in the body of the speech actually encapsulates all three of my main points. For my conclusion, I use the story to summarize my ideas.

It’s creative and my audience remembers my points.

2. Craft a call-to-action that gets results

Creating a call-to-action (CTA) can feel intimidating and weird to many speakers. Up until this point in your presentation, you’ve been giving your brilliance freely to your audience and now you need to ask them for something.

Your goal is to write a CTA that gets results. The CTA answers the question of “now what?” You’ve given your best; now what can the audience do to take their relationship deeper with you or take action on your message?

The CTA should be the next natural step in your relationship with the audience. Perhaps you’re asking for another meeting, an email address in exchange for your free workbook, or you’re asking for the sale. Whatever the ask, it needs to be the next step in order to feel comfortable to you and your audience.

Be specific and focus on ONE and only one action that you’d like the audience to take next. If you give a buffet of options to an audience, the easiest choice is to do nothing.

Finally, make it easy for the audience to take that step. If it’s simple to get the workbook, schedule the meeting, or make the purchase, you’ll get great results. If the audience has to jump through hoops to make it happen, they’ll go from heck yes to a decided no.

3. Leave the audience with a battle cry

Never end your speech with your CTA. A pitch is about you, and you want the last words that you utter to be about the audience.

It’s their battle cry. What they should do next, whether they take the relationship with you to the next level or not. The last words of your presentation are what they remember most. It’s the message that audience spreads to their friends, family, and anyone who will listen.

The key to tapping into the battle cry is to answer this question, “As the last words fall from your lips, how do you want your audience to feel?”

Happy. Empowered. Inspired. Mad as heck and they are not going to take it anymore. Write your ending from that emotion. And if you want more help crafting those perfect last words that leaves your audience buzzing about your message, grab my audience journey tool.

Writing a remarkable conclusion is the way to get the audience to remember you long after you finished speaking. Be creative with how you summarize. Be specific and clear on your call-to-action. Tap into the emotion of how you want your audience to feel.

Never let the final thought of your presentation be an after thought.

READ MORE: 7 Strategies That Make Speechwriting Easier

Photo: suradach/Shutterstock