How to Say Goodbye
What makes a speaker memorable? Speakers who put as much, or more, effort into the way they will close their speech as they do into the content of it are the ones we remember.
How about you? How much time do you invest in how you’re leaving your audience? Even good speakers, who start with a compelling opening, make their points clearly and concisely, brilliantly use storytelling, and deliver in a powerful way, often leave the audience with a lackluster, "Thank you, I appreciate your time and attention." Or, worse yet, they conduct their Q&A at the end and the last words the audience hears are, "Any more questions? No? Okay, I guess that’s it. Thanks." No, say it isn’t so!
There are several ways you can close your presentation that will make you stand out as a great speaker instead of just a good one. You want to be memorable, don’t you?
Try closing with...
A Story: This is the most powerful way to connect to your audience and it’s an impressive way to end a speech.
A Quote: Choose one that isn’t overused and is appropriate for your speech. For instance, when I share my speech on Public Speaking, I close with, "As you leave here, remember the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Do what you fear and the death of fear is certain.'"
A Call to Action: This isn’t the "go to our website, sign the petition, or buy my book" form of call to action. It’s about leaving the audience with something that moves them to action or makes them think, like:
"When you leave here today, commit to yourself that you will never victim blame again, or allow anyone to do it in your presence. You can only truly help a person when you respect them as a fellow human being" (when delivering an anti-human trafficking speech).
Or, "As soon as possible after leaving here today, call that friend or family member you’ve been thinking about and say, 'I’m sorry and I love you'" (when delivering a speech on the power of forgiveness).
A Question: Craig Valentine, a World Champion of Public Speaking and author of World Class Speaking, recently ended his speech this way:
"Before I go to sleep each night, I ask myself two questions. My first question is, 'If I asked my wife to marry me again today, would she say yes?' And, secondly I ask, 'If my life story was made into a movie would I be proud of my character?' Now, what questions can you ask yourself?"
What a brilliant ending to an inspiring speech! The proof that solid endings are effective is that I just repeated that by memory - his words stuck with me and moved me to action. I immediately came up with the questions I will ask myself each night.
How you leave your audience will impact whether they remember you, so invest the time and effort in your endings. How will you say goodbye?
President, The Zen Speaker
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