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You've rocked your opening using compelling, stirring words. Gained empathy from the audience for your message and engaged their interest. Wowed them with enthusiasm and storytelling skills... taken your lucky audience on a beautiful journey. Now what?
All good presenters use techniques or signals to indicate that a presentation has come to an end. The most obvious signal is the conclusion... usually when the speaker says "IN CONCLUSION..." Huge no-no by the way, think of a bit more inventive way to let your audience know your journey is almost over. When the speaker reviews the main ideas in summary form, of course, this is an indication that the presentation is coming to an end. It's fine to ask for questions but not necessarily the most impactful way to leave your audience.
Bring home your residual message!
That is a final, brief, broad statement that sums up THE main message you want your audience to remember speaking to the big speech theme. This is the main takeaway or specifically what you want your audience to remember even if they forget everything else you've said. Think of it as the key idea that you want your audience to take away with them. A residual message needs to be short, efficient, and memorable. A well-done “closing” will have your audience automatically clapping BEFORE you utter “Thank-you for coming, are there any questions?”
Once you've hit your climax, the story is almost over. The audience doesn't want to go all the way down the mountain with you, they'd much rather get airlifted off the top of the mountain whilst they still have the buzz of reaching your goal. This is what great speech closings manage to do time and again.
Strangely enough the close can be the hardest part of speech. Here's where you get to hit home your action point - the key thing you want your audience to do differently as a result of listening to your speech. Often the close is where speakers undermine the power of the rest of their speech. So, end with a memorable conclusion that captures the essence of your speech, give it some punch, and stick to it!
That... my dearest Ginger readers... is how you end a speech.
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