To complement my previous entry about fifteen ways to begin your speech, here are six strategies for ending your speech. These tips are from Alan M. Perlman’s book, Writing Great Speeches. Perlman is a speechwriter and ghost writer. The Toastmaster magazine has called him “one of this nation’s top speechwriters.”
1. Net. Go briefly over the highlights of what was covered and sum it all up.
2. Action/Commitment. Explain what action(s) or commitment(s) you hope will be taken and by whom as a result of the information presented.
3. Outcome/Outlook. What is likely to happen or you hope will happen as a result of the points made in the speech.
4. Confirmation. Return to the purpose of the speech and restate it.
5. Qualities. Go over the qualities that will be needed to accomplish the goals covered in the speech.
6. Bonding. Reiterate the ways that the audience is bound to each other or to some larger cause or entity.
Why not end your speech with the same “crescendo” as a musical performance. Leave the audience “in a heightened emotional state and with a satisfying sense of closure,” says Perlman. The last sentences are delivered most effectively by looking at your listeners.
Speechwriter Alan M. Perlman shares tips for every speechgiver in his book, Writing Great Speeches, Professional Techniques You Can Use.
Instead of starting a speech with a startling statistic or a dramatic quote, Perlman suggests using what he calls a “channel-opener,” which gets the audience used to your voice. The channel-opener includes thanking whoever invited the speaker and also recognizes the audience for their presence (perhaps they had challenging weather conditions to overcome). Then, Perlman suggests moving into the heart of your speech and offers fifteen strategies for doing so:
1. Summarize what is to follow
2. Explain your motivation for communicating
3. Talk about how you relate to the experience or the subject
4. State your purpose
5. Describe what’s new, interesting, useful or beneficial in what you’re about to communicate
6. Describe the background or context for what you’re about to say
7. State the overall plan of your speech (the way you’ve organized your subject matter)
8. Give examples of what you’re writing or talking about
9. Play off a current event or idea, either agreeing or disagreeing with it
10. Begin with a general – but related- subject and connect it to the audience and the speech topic
11. Talk about the audience – their beliefs, feelings, attitudes, situation, accomplishments, or challenges
12. Begin with a vision, which the audience will have a hand in realizing
13. Play off the title of the program, the theme of the conference, or the letter of invitation
14. Talk about the organization
15. Play off the date, day, month or year
Studies have shown that public speaking is one of the events people generally consider highly stressful. Perlman’s tips could take some of the edge off of that.