Saturday, April 06, 2013

Delivering a speech? Finish big.

The closing line of your speech may be the one thing that members of your audience remember as they leave the hall. It's critically important that you deliver it well, and that the content is spot-on. Ideally, it should mirror your opening line, and provide exactly what you promised at the start of your speech.
What are the essential elements of a good close?. I think they include some or most of these:
  • Indicate that you are about to finish ("and in conclusion")
  • Re-state your core message
  • Refer back to the start of your speech
  • Use the word "you"
  • Call your audience to action
  • Deliver a ringing phrase
  • Use an analogy ("just as Churchill said")
  • Use a quote
  • Say simply "Thank you"
  • Stay on stage and take the applause

Here's how Winston Churchill did it on June 18th 1940: "But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'"

Picture Credit: Alan Stevens 

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