“Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
D-day is here. You have worked hard on every aspect to deliver a killer speech- be it your communication skills or body language. You reach the podium and fortunately start off remarkably well. With interesting quips and quotes, vivid anecdotes, and a solid subject to make your arguments on, your speech is going smooth as you had visualized.
As you reach the end of your speech, it’s time for the conclusion.
After speaking so well and holding the audience to rapt attention, do you really want to end on a mere ‘that’s all, thank you?’
No matter how great your speech is, the end result can be extremely pedestrian if you are not able to conclude it effectively.
Here are 6 ways you can do so:
1. Summarize your points
All the points and arguments made during the speech or presentation should be summarized, especially if it is quite verbose. The audience might lose track of what all you said and could want a recap of some of the better points.
2. Remind how it is important for them
If it is a business presentation or a speech to the company shareholders, then remind the audience what’s in for them. For example, if the company had a profitable quarter then would it mean higher year-end bonuses for the employees? Greater dividend payouts for stakeholders? Or, if the company is facing a downturn then would it result in layoffs or lower increments? Get your message out clearly.
3. Challenge the audience to do something
As John F. Kennedy famously said:
“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
If you are speaking on a social awareness issue e.g. safety rights of women, and have managed to make some forceful points throughout your speech, then you can conclude it with a call of action for the audience. For example:
“Once you step out, what proactive steps will you take to ensure safety of women in your own neighborhood?”
Remember, a persuasive presentation will come to naught if you are not able to goad the audience to take some conclusive action.
4. Refer to your introduction
When you refer to your introduction while wrapping up, it brings your speech full circle. For example, if the speech is on gun control then you can begin with:
“Are stricter gun laws required in the U.S.?”
You can make a lot of arguments related to gun control laws in different countries and how the death rate due to gun shootings have gone down considerably after those countries enforced stringent laws regarding the possession of firearms.
You can then again quote some statistic and end with:
“Yes, stricter gun laws are required in the U.S.”.
5. Use a quote
Ending your speech with a powerful quote from a well-known personality can inspire people deeply, especially if that person has solid credibility on your topic. For example, if your presentation is on the various investment tools used in the financial markets, then concluding with a quote by Warren Buffet, who is one of the most successful investors in the world, will surely make your speech more powerful.
6. Envision the future
Once you have presented your speech and set the foundation for a solution to a problem, then you can give the audience a glimpse of the future. This can be either a positive or negative outlook, but if it is indeed the latter then you also have to instill enough hope within them to improve the situation.
For example, if you are speaking on Artificial Intelligence, you can either paint a vibrant picture of a world reducing human effort by use of smart machines, while also envision a bleak future ahead through possibilities of job losses due to rising automation, loss of privacy etc.