It’s hard to end things. How can you turn endings into powerful statements that leave your audience astounded? [Speak on the Shoulders of Giants]
Think of one good movie you’ve watched recently.
Why did you like it?
How did you feel while watching it?
How about after watching it?
A good speech is just like a good movie that captures the audience’s interest at the beginning, develops point by point, and ends with a strong and lasting impression.
It’s usually what you say at the beginning and what you say at the end that will be remembered more than any other part of your speech.
However, it’s not just what you say, but it’s also how you say it. Some speakers face the dilemma of maintaining the tone of their speech and their audience’s attention up to their very last words.
How can we end our speeches in a powerful way?
Use a Power Closer!
This is one of the tips stated in James C. Humes’ book, “Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln.”
The Power Closer is a line that ends a speech in a way that challenges the audience’s beliefs, or leaves them contemplating a certain call-to-action.
As mentioned in the book, Churchill believes the ending of a speech is “the last impression the speaker leaves with an audience.”
A good closer has the capacity to rouse an audience even when the earlier parts of the speech are flat.
A strong ending should appeal to these emotions:
- Pride – The emotion one feels towards his or her company, community, nation, profession, or occupation.
- Hope – A vision for a better future, for new opportunities, and expanded horizons.
- Love – The emotion one feels towards his or her family, country, and God, after hearing the speaker’s speech.
- Fear (occasionally) – The emotion one feels towards misfortunes that might happen if the call-to-action is ignored.
Here are a few ways you can make a powerful speech or presentation closer.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, anecdotes are usually short narratives of an amusing, interesting, or biographical incident of a person.
Everybody has a story to tell, and a lot of people would like to hear these stories, especially those that they can relate to.
Using stories as part of your closer may provide you with more opportunities to hook your audience and persuade them into your call-to-action.
Choose the right anecdote depending on the type of audience you’re talking to. If your audience consists mostly of youth, you may want to pick an anecdote that would inspire them to achieve their dreams or to make the world a better place.
Let’s read this example from a CEO who saluted a retiring employee using an anecdote of Solomon’s story from the Scripture:
“When I think of our honoree, Alvin, I think of Solomon in the Bible when the angel of the Lord visited him and asked him what he needed most to be king: ‘Riches? Power? Or Fame?’
Solomon answered, ‘Give me an understanding heart.’
Well, when you listen to these stories from some of his co-workers on the contributions and random kindnesses he has performed, we know that God gave Alvin an understanding heart.”
You may also use your personal anecdotes in some instances.
Cite historical events.
They say those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
History allows us to see gaps and fill them. It provides us with avenues to improve and prevents us from doing the steps which led to failures in the past.
You may use these events as reference at the end of your talk if you want to stir appropriate and necessary emotions from your audience.
Take this for example.
Winston Churchill, in one of his cabinet meetings, ended with this story:
“General George Washington has a general on his staff known as ‘Mad Anthony Wayne,’ who told him, ‘I’ll storm hell, General Washington, if you’ll only plan the assault.’
And Washington replied, ‘Perhaps, my dear General Wayne, we should try Stony Point first in the Hudson River!’
And so, let’s first concentrate on North Africa before talking about a western front.”
Put yourself in people’s shoes.
Remember that you are not just speaking to impress.
Know your audience—their cultural backgrounds, age group, preferences, so on and so forth.
Ask yourself, “If I were part of the audience I’m talking to, how would I feel?”
That way, you’ll be able to cater your speech to them so it appeals to them more, preventing boredom, awkwardness, and dead air from entering or filling the room.
Find your own ending.
Just as each writer has a unique way of writing, each speaker has a unique way of presenting.
Don’t be afraid to be you! After all, the greatest speakers are those who are able to relate to an audience and stand out among the rest.
Try using these tips!
Quote other people but don’t forget to add your own flair to it. That way, your audience will also remember you, not just what you said or the other people you quoted.
Apply the Power Closer on your next speech! See the impact it will make on your audience.
About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Wednesday: Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”
In a meeting with one person
…a boardroom with five people
…or a huge venue with hundreds of people
—whatever the situation or setting, it’s very important to learn and eventually master the art of public speaking.
No matter what, you always need to effectively get your message across.
What good is a presentation with awesome content if you don’t deliver it properly?
Every Wednesday, we publish different tips, insights, and secrets on how you can improve your presentation skills to captivate your audience and lead interesting discussions.
The need for great presentation skills applies EVERYWHERE.
(Small meetings with your team, big meetings with your boss, an important marketing pitch, speaking engagements for events with a big audience, etc.)
Learning these skills is not just for the corporate world. Being in other industries such as the Arts, Information Technology, Medicine, and Education while knowing how to present well will definitely give you an edge.
Have that advantage.
Hope you’ve found this week’s public speaking tip interesting and helpful.
Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s Speak on the Shoulders of Giants!
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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