Public Speaking Skills:
How to Close a Speech
Those with good public speaking skills know that one of the worst mistakes
a presenter can make is talking too long. Not only will you send some
folks to never, never land, you will make some of them downright mad.
It doesn't matter if your entire speech was given brilliantly and the
audience came away with information that
will change their lives. If you talk too long, they will leave saying,
"That speaker just wouldn't quit." Don't let this happen to
what you have to say and sit down. Before you do, give them a well
thought out closing.
The last thing you say is usually what they remember after leaving.
Having good public speaking skills requires that you must put as much
time into selecting and
practicing your closing as you put into any other part of your presentation.
Just like your opening, your closing does not have to be humorous. It
could be motivational, challenging, thoughtful, respectful of the length
of the presentation, or it could restate your point in a different way.
This ending segment will have a strong influence on what the audience
takes home with them when you are done.
Making an impact and being memorable is part using your public speaking
skills. To make your speech more memorable, during your talk ask the
audience to do something. Many a great NO ZZZZZs talk went no further
than the walls of the meeting room because the audience wasn't moved
to action. If you haven't ask them to do something by now, the closing
is your last chance.
If the subject is appropriate, I happen to be fond of humorous closings
for several reasons. If you leave them laughing and applauding, you
will exit, but an extremely positive impression about you will remain.
Another good reason to leave them laughing is that the room will not
deadly silent as you are walking back to your seat. I hate when that
happens. I do love laughter and feeling good; finishing a speech
humorously gives me and the audience an opportunity to feel great.
Speeches that are for entertainment purposes only should generally
leave the audience laughing. All of these are great tools to add to
your public speaking skills.
Finally, if the subject is not appropriate to end with laughter, you
could end with a touching story or quotation that leaves the audience
thoughtful and quiet. Even the most serious subjects
can benefit from humor, so learn to practice these public speaking skills.
The humor should be well sprinkled throughout the body of the presentation.
Don't put it at the end because closings are powerful and the audience
will think your overall attitude toward the subject is flippant.
This same technique can be very effective in ending a mostly humorous
speaking engagement. Have them laughing all along while you make your
points. Then finish seriously. This contrast will create a great
impact. It will convey the fact that you believe in a lighthearted
approach to the subject, but the results are very serious to you.
Don't be afraid to use humor when you speak in public. Just make sure
you learn your public speaking skills well and deliver it right.
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