There are some great speeches that have gone down in history and that we still recite to this day. But what makes a speech so memorable? Or even more so, what prompts the audience to get into action?
A good talk or public speech is like a good play, movie, or song. It opens by arresting the listener’s attention, develops point by point, and then ends strongly.
The truth is, if you don’t know how to end a speech, your key points may get lost. The words you say at the beginning, and especially at the end of your talk, will be remembered longer than almost any other part of your speech.
Here are three more tips and examples for concluding a speech:
5) Make them laugh
You can close with humor. You can tell a joke that loops back into your subject and repeats the lesson or main point you are making with a story that makes everyone laugh.
During my talks on planning and persistence, I discuss the biggest enemy that we have, which is the tendency to follow the path of least resistance. I then tell this story:
Ole and Sven are out hunting in Minnesota and they shoot a deer. They begin dragging the deer back to the truck by the tail, but they keep slipping and losing both their grip and their balance.
A farmer comes along and asks them, “What are you boys doing?”
They reply, “We’re dragging the deer back to the truck.”
The farmer tells them, “You are not supposed to drag a deer by the tail. You’re supposed to drag the deer by the handles. They’re called antlers. You’re supposed to drag a deer by the antlers.”
Ole an Sven say, “Thank you very much for the idea.”
They begin pulling the deer by the antlers. After about five minutes, they are making rapid progress. Ole says to Sven, “Sven, the farmer was right. It goes a lot easier by the antlers.”
Sven replies, “Yeah, but we’re getting farther and farther from the truck.”
After the laughter dies down, I say…
“The majority of people in life are pulling the easy way, but they are getting further and further from the ‘truck’ or their real goals and objectives.”
6) Make it rhyme
You can close with a poem. There are many fine poems that contain messages that summarize the key points you want to make. You can select a poem that is moving, dramatic, or emotional.
For years, I ended seminars with the poem “Don’t Quit,” or “Carry On!” by Robert W. Service. It was always well received by the audience.
7) Close with inspiration
You can end a speech with something inspirational as well. If you have given an uplifting talk, remember that hope is, and has always been, the main religion of mankind. People love to be motivated and inspired to be or do something different and better in the future.
Remember, everyone in your audience is dealing with problems, difficulties, challenges, disappointments, setbacks, and temporary failures. For this reason, everyone appreciates a story or poem of encouragement that gives them strength and courage.
When you tell a story or recite a poem, you must become an actor. Try practicing on this poem that I referenced above… Read through “Carry On!” by Robert Service.
Identify the key lines, intimate parts and memorable parts, and recite it.
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