The Need To End A Speech Well
The objective of delivering a speech is to influence our audience and hopefully inspire them to do or look at a subject differently. When delivering a speech, a critical point is how we end it.
“The object of oratory alone in not truth, but persuasion.”
Thomas Babington Macaulay
How we end a speech will stay in our audiences mind and a bad ending will lessen the impact of an otherwise great speech. There are a number of ways to improve the way you end a speech and I have listed a few I regularly use.
1) Leave No Room For Audience Doubt
When you end a speech you do not want to leave your audience “scratching their heads” in confusion. Your audience should know by the end of your speech what your message was. They should be in no doubt what it is you were trying to say and your ending should reinforce this message.
2) Leave Them Laughing
Humor is a great way to get your point across when delivering a speech. If you leave your audience laughing at the end of your speech not only will your audience enjoy it, they will also remember it. Make sure your humor is appropriate for your subject, and audience and you have tested it out in advance. Do not overdo your use of humor, remember the importance of the message you are delivering.
3) Challenge Your Audience
The best speeches raise difficult subjects that aspire to challenge an audience. They are big ideas that demand quality speeches delivered with passion. If you are delivering an important message, make sure you issue a challenge to your audience at the end of your speech. Finish your speech in a way that clearly states the challenge you are giving your audience. Keep the language clear, brief and to the point. Everyone in the audience needs to be in no doubt of what the point of your speech is.
4) Rehearse Your Closing
I cannot stress the importance of practicing your speech. Practicing a speech is what makes it appear effortless. It is also what helps you if you stumble at any point during your delivery. This is never important than at the start and end of your speech. The better you prepare your ending, the more confidently you will deliver it.
5) What Next
No matter whether your message is a big important challenge to our way of life or simply a more mundane life message your audience needs to know what to do next. If they buy into your message your audience needs to know what action they need to take next. The action required needs to be obvious, easy to understand and most importantly, achievable. It is a waste of time delivering a message to inspire people to an action that they cannot start. That does not mean that they will succeed in your desired outcome only that they can start it. For example if you challenge them to learn a new skill, they only need to be able to sign for the course the outcome of which will depend on various unknown factors. The key is to inspire them to action.
“We convince by our presence.”
It is well known that “people buy from people they like” and this applies to speech ideas and concepts as well. We are more likely to act upon a speech that that entertains and educates us while engaging on an emotional basis. This is why the end of a speech is so important, it needs to engage us on an emotional basis and leave us with an enduring memory. At the end of a speech we need to know what the message is and more importantly why we should act upon it.