No matter how long you speech or presentation is, at a certain point you’ll get to the end and have to wrap up.
How can you close the lecture? What can you say as a closure to keep the audience’s attention so they remember your message long? How shall you structure your presentation to be interesting until the last moment?
Finishing a speech or presentation is as important as the introduction or the key message itself. If the last words are weak, the audience may lack something, you (the speaker) will soon be forgotten, what even worse, they will leave with a negative impression. And that is what you need to avoid by all means. So what can you do to articulate the end of the speech interesting, impressive and memorable?
Make it clear that the presentation is coming to the end
Have you ever attended a presentation that ended in an awkward silence and you weren’t sure if it continued or if the speaker just took a break? Some speakers happen to make the mistake of abruptly stopping the speech, so the audience isn’t sure if the presentation is over. It is always crucial to show with closing sentences that you have reached the end. For example:
‘In conclusion, note that…’
‘There is nothing left of my presentation other than that…’
Make a summary
Not only at the beginning of the presentation but also at the end, a brief summary can be effective. If the lecture was long and the content was complex, such a reminder will help people understand the point. Repeat the main message which can even be embedded in a story. If, on the other hand, the topic was not complicated and apparently everyone could follow, it would be more appropriate to sum up the speech with a conclusion rather than a summary, such as:
‘… This leads us to…’
‘… It all means…’
If you finish with a summary, make sure not to make it too boring!
The magic three
Simple, effective, and striking. Did you notice that I have just chosen this particular tool in my previous sentence? The magic three simply means mentioning three memorable things in a row. That works both orally and in writing. Now you can understand why these slogans are so easy to remember, can’t you? ‘Just Do It’ (Nike), ‘I’m lovin’ it’ (McDonalds), ‘Every little helps‘ (Tesco). Each comprises three parts and is easy to remember.
Refer to your initial message
Obviously this method is one of the most popular endings speakers use. If you refer back to what you conveyed at the beginning, you establish a fame of your entire speech. The benefit is that your topic will already be familiar for the audience. Another tool might be that you answer your own rhetorical question that you had raised at the beginning. This can help the audience understand the content that was not yet clear when you have started speaking.
Try to avoid ‘Questions & Answers’ or ‘Questions?‘ section
And now another one on the list that we do not recommend. If you finish your lecture with these kinds of slides or sentences, it may generate a couple of drawbacks for you. Can you recall a time when you, as a participant, were the first to raise your hand when the presentation came to the end? Probably not. The sudden silence causes a sense of lack, the audience remains silent, and they just won’t get what they would need most: the performance won’t have a clear ending. So often happens that no one asks a single question, therefore the awkward silence might be inconvenient. If you want to encourage people to ask questions, it is much better to do so during the speech, furthermore, you can even answer the questions yourself.
Finish with a quote
Similarly to the beginning of the presentation, finishing with a matching quote can be an excellent tool at the end as well. If you pick a saying that is compelling enough, your audience will remember it even if they forget most of what you have conveyed. I strongly remember attending a lecture on conflict management once, which was concluded with a quote by the presenter. This method of closing was so captivating that I didn’t forget it even years later, even though I could not recall the details of the lecture. The quote was:
‘When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.’ (Dale Carnegie)
Call to action
Simple, popular and effective. Many presentations are designed to inspire people to take certain steps (while promoting or advertising a product). At the end of the speech simply and clearly ask them what they need to do. For example:
‘Join the community of White Paws Dog Shelter!’
‘Donate to the disabled children charity club today!’
‘Now that we’re at the end, take 1 minute to fill out the questionnaire!’
Indicate the benefits they can get, like
‘If you become member of this fund, you personally can help to ensure safe transportation in your city!’
‘If you follow the advice presented, you also can become a great driving instructor!‘
Conclude your presentation with an inspiring story
Who doesn’t like listening to stories or tales? The story or anecdote should affect emotions, needs to be educating or funny, but always make sure it is related to the content of your speech. Don’t be afraid of telling a story with a sad end. The key is to touch the audience’ feelings in some way. When you are able to achieve this, they will leave with an emotional charge and want to listen to your speeches again and again.
Conclude with a startling statistical data
If only the audience’ thoughts would revolve around your lecture even after they left! All you have to do is close your speech with an astonishing statistical data. If the data is surprising and unexpected enough, you will help people capture your message, as a result, they will certainly remember you and your presentation. For example:
‘Did you know that people remember only 15% of the content of speeches after 48 hours?’
Offer them an alternate
Offering a choice is a method that makes audience think a little bit further. It can easily be linked to ’call to action’ and reinforces what you say. Examples:
’You may choose the faster way. But what I have recommended to you is a slower but more secure path.’
’Now you are capable how to use our new software, which is faster, easier and cheaper than the old one. The choice is yours!’
If you follow the ideas above, you can be sure that you will captivate the audience who will be looking forward to join your next presentation. Best of luck with your upcoming speech!
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