Just as a good beginning of a speech ensures the audience is with you during the speech, a good ending ensures that the audience is with you even after you have left the stage.
A good end of a speech is one which leaves a mark in their minds. And a good way to leave a mark is by creating an emotional appeal.
It is with this idea of leaving a mark in the minds of the audience that we look at some of the good ways of ending a speech.
But before, let’s look at some of the common errors we make while ending our speeches.
Speech Ending Error 1: Saying “That’s all from my side. Thank you.” (or “That’s all from me. Thank you.”)
Speech Ending Error 2: Saying “So, that’s the end of my speech. Thank you for listening.”
Speech Ending Error 3: Introducing new material at the end of the speech. Speech conclusion is the time to summarize, not bring out new points.
Speech Ending Error 4: “Sorry for taking so long. I know I extended my time. I hope you learnt something. Have a good day.” Time your speech before delivering it!
Speech Ending Error 4: Awkward silence, followed by the speaker stepping down abruptly from the stage, leaving the audience confused. It is important to prepare the audience for the speech conclusion.
These ways of ending a speech can create confusion and will definitely not reflect happily on your reputation as a speaker. The purpose is not to leave the audience confused but to leave them perplexed and happy.
Let’s try these instead.
Some of the good ways to end a speech:
1. A Humorous or Inspirational Story
In the end, I want to leave you with a story…
Narrate a nice sounding inspirational or humorous, preferably a personal story.
2. A Rhetorical Question
A rhetorical question is a question that you ask without expecting an answer. The purpose is to get the audience thinking in the direction you want them to.
“Ladies and gentlemen I ask you. What choice will you make today? Will you take action and preserve or will you go about your normal routine and let it die? The choice… is yours.” – A speech on wildlife preservation.
Note: This speech close is generic and can be remodeled and fit to numerous speech types.
3. A Quote
“In the words of 35th President of the United States, Mr. John F Kennedy, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you instead ask what you can do for your country.’ All of us can serve our country a hundred times better than what we’re already doing. All we need is a little support. Your country is waiting for you. Where are you?” – A speech about good citizenship.
“Basketball legend Michael Jordan once said, ‘Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.’ Ladies and gentlemen I ask you. What do you want to do? Do you want to win a game? Or you want to win the championship? The choice… is yours.” – A speech on teamwork.
4. A Call for Action
“So on this winter morning in the month of February, with the Sun and the Wind Gods as our witness, let us take a pledge. Let us pledge that no matter what life shows us, no matter what it makes us go through in our time here, we will always focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. It is going to be hard for when the dark time comes it is very easy to lose focus and it is for those testing times that this pledge will guide you. Take a pledge that no matter what comes through the door of tomorrow, you will always keep your eyes fixed on the happiness that you deserve, on the difference that you need to make, on the life that you want to live.
Take a pledge that I will embrace life as it happens. If it has to give the good, I will accept with open arms. If it has to give the bad, I give back the hell before it gives me that!” – An inspirational speech on seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
5. A Short Inspirational Poem
“So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit.
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.” – From the poem ‘Don’t Quit.’
6. Repetition of the Speech’s Main Idea
The best example of such a speech is Martin Luther King’s I have a dream or Barrack Obama’s Yes we can. Here the phrase is repeated over and over again in the middle of the speech and then used once again to end the speech with the exact same words. This creates a wonderful stickiness effect in the minds of the audience.
7. Referring to the Beginning of the Speech
In this method, you as the speaker refer to the beginning of the speech to bring to life the memories of what you introduced at the beginning. This reinforces the message and provides a solution to the problem you introduced in a naturally progressive manner.
For a speech which began with reference to the introverted speaker blacking out as a kid when the children of the neighborhood asked him to play football with them:
“The key to remember is to be ready. Be ready for when the moment comes, you will not black out in front of those children. Instead you have the strength and the courage to say, ‘I want to play football with you. Wanna try me?’”
8. Summarize the Main Points
This method is popularly referred to as 3 part symmetrical speech outline which is,
- Tell them what you are going to tell them
- Tell them
- Tell them what you just told them
That is, you introduce the topic, present the speech and then summarize the key points of what you discussed in the speech.
These are eight of the commonly used tried and tested methods of ending a speech. All you need to do is pick one (or a combination) of them, incorporate in your next speech and start preparing. At the same time feel free to use any other method you find to be better fitting for your speech purpose. Do let me know if you do so, I’d be happy to know!
At the end, all you need to remember is:
- Prepare and rehearse your beginning and conclusion very well. These are the inflection points which make the maximum impact.
- Leave the audience with a smile. Always end the speech on a happy note.
After all you can always end the speech by saying, “I hope you enjoyed my speech and if you did not, I hope you had a good nap.”