Tips on concluding a speech

Finish line

Have you ever sat through a presentation or speech that you have enjoyed, found interesting or intriguing throughout, but been left feeling a bit empty when it finished?

So many speeches are carefully crafted throughout by the orator, but appear to be missing an ending. The speechwriter seems to have laboured for hours over the body, but tacked ona damp squib of an ending, either in haste or through lack of care.

The conclusion of your speech is your opportunity to leave one clear thought or call to action in the mind of your audience. It’s the lasting impression that you will leave, and it is at the very least, a large cue to your audience to start applauding!

So what is a good conclusion? What does it look like? Here are my thoughts – next time you write a speech, see how many of these boxes your conclusion ticks:

- A good conclusion gives the audience something to do or think about – a call to action

- A good conclusion should be introduced at the beginning of your speech – tell your audience that it’s coming at the end: eg: “and I am going to finish by telling you…”

- A good conclusion tells your audience what you have already told them – it reiterates and reinforces your point

- A good conclusion is memorable

- A good conclusion is concise

- A good conclusion finishes with a pause, and eye contact
with your audience

Have I missed anything? What are your tips for a strong speech conclusion? Let me know in the comments below and I’d be delighted to hear them.

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Rich Watts is the UK Business Speaker of the Year and a past JCI National Public Speaking champion. He setup and now runs Rich Public Speaking providing presentation skills and public speaking training.

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