Very often I have seen speakers ending their speech with a casual ‘Thank You’. I will not blame them since I used to do the same before joining Toastmasters. If a speaker strongly feels that he should express his gratitude for listening to him, I think he shouldn’t be presenting the speech in the first place. A speech ending has got more important objectives:
Achieve Closure: The audience should feel that your speech has come to a logical ending.
Reinforce the Speech Objective: The core objective of the speech should be reinforced. If the speech is inspirational, there should be a specific call for action, either directly or indirectly. If it’s a humorous speech, ideally the speech should end with a big laugh.
Five excellent ways to end your speech with a bang are given below:
Use of quotations has got several advantages. It is easy to find a good quotation, they are usually worded beautifully and the audience will get a feeling that great personalities share the same ideas as that of the speaker. A quotation will be ideal for ending all kinds of speeches, especially inspirational speeches.
An inspiring speech on importance of non-violence could end with the quote:
An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind
2. A Summary
Summary is best suited for informative speeches. Pick up the key points of the speech as the conclusion. It should also tie with the introduction that you have given.
This is a classic speech conclusion method and is based on the formula that repetition will enhance retention. The summary should be brief, solid and it should give a sense of closure to the audience.
A small anecdote which gives out your core message will be an ideal ending for an inspirational speech. People love stories and messages coming through stories do have high retention rates. Whenever possible, personalize the anecdotes.
4. Call to Action
A persuasive talk usually ends with a call to action. The speaker may try to persuade the audience to take a specific action.
A speech about protecting forests may end with requesting the audience to plant at least one tree in the weekend.
Humorous ending is always desirable for any speech, especially the speeches which are meant for entertainment. The ideal closing will be a humorous statement or remark which clearly brings out the message of your speech.