Ending your speech with a Bang: How to effectively close your presentation

In my previous post I talked about how important the close of your presentation is.

In this post we will talk about how to create a memorable close that will end your presentation on a high note.

In order to end you presentation / training / speech on a high note you need to consider these key elements:

Summarize: The classic speech structure that I learned at Toastmasters http://www.toastmasters.org/ says that you tell your audience what you are going to talk about in your introduction, then you tell them in the body of your presentation, and finally you tell them what you just told them in your conclusion.

The reasoning behind this formula is that the repetition will enhance retention, in other words what your audience will remember from your presentation.

Stories: I love stories!!! I believe that stories are like peanut butter for the brain, because stories are memorable (they help the message stick in your audience’s brain), when you attach the main point to the story you will not only remember the story, but the main point as well.

One of my favorite ways to use a story in a speech is to tell a two-part story. Open your presentation with part one of the story, then at a key point, switch into the lesson which is the body of the story, then finish the speech with, as famous radio annoucer Paul Harvey used to say, “the rest of the story”. This is a great way to tie your presentation together.

One other thing about stories is that you want your final story should be uplifting or inspiration (not depressing or with dark tones in it) in order to leave your audience with a good feeling.

Quotes: Quotes are those golden nuggets that can say so much with very few words. Using the right quote at the end of you presentation can leave your audience with a very powerful “ah-ha” moment.

Tip off your ending: The reason you want to tip off your ending is that it will perk up your audience and help them listen closely for your final words of wisdom. Now there are many ways to tip off your ending, the most overused way is to say, “In conclusion”. However if you want to make more of an impact use, “I want to leave you with this final thought.”

Timing: Probably the most important thing that I have learned from not only my years on the platform, but from some of the other experts that I have worked with, (specifically Jim Clemmer http://www.jimclemmer.com/ and Warren Evans http://www.wevans.com/ ) is that your audience will forget everything you have told them if you run late. I believe that when they realize that you have run over the time that you have been alloted and they realize it, magically their brain opens up and all the knowledge you have given them escapes and your audience leaves frustrated. Ending on time is that important.

Here are a couple of tricks that I picked up on how to end on time.

The first trick that I have picked up from another excellent speaker, Donald Cooper http://www.donaldcooper.com/, at a CAPS (Canadian Association of Professional Speakers http://www.canadianspeakers.org/) conference a few years ago,  is to carry a small digital clock that will be facing you (and away from the audience) and right below the time put a piece of masking tape with the time you need to finish on it. And as Donald says, “When the time on the clock matches the time on the tape… shut up. “

The second trick I learned at Toastmasters (http://www.toastmasters.org/) is to have an alternate close. Arm yourself with at least two different closings. One with a story and one with a quote. This way if you see that you are getting pressed for time, just switch to the quote that makes the same point as the story and finish your presentation on time. And the cool thing is that you audience will never know that you made the switch.

Use these suggestions and not only will your audiences love you for it, but it will make you more memorable and it will even increase your odds of selling them and getting repeat business (whether it is another speech, your products or services). Now that is what I call finishing with a bang!!!

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13 Comments

Filed under Blogroll, Human Dynamics, Leadership, Motivational Quotes, Presentations, Richard Elmes, Sales

13 responses to “Ending your speech with a Bang: How to effectively close your presentation

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