No matter how well you present a topic, there will always be one final challenge in the last few minutes of your speech. How in the world can we wrap it up successfully? There are actually several ways to leave your audience with a lasting impression.
1. Our first consideration is: What summary information do I want to impart? Think of the end of your talk as a bullet point list of the items you’ve already covered in detail. This is definitely not the time to introduce new information.
2. And the second question we need to address is: What mood do I want to create prior to leaving the podium? This is where we can open the door to variety a bit. Consider the following:
a. Calls to Action – many speeches are nothing more than persuasive acts to inspire others to get on board with the topic. It can be very beneficial to let your audience know exactly how to do so. Unless you are in a room full of experts on your subject, you should be mindful that others may not be as equipped as you are and think simplistically. It’s unrealistic to think the hobbyist can achieve the same goals as the professional.
b. Close with video clips that sum up your presentation. Drama can often capture the attention of an audience where words cannot.
c. Share a personal story that relates directly to the experiences your audiences may encounter. People love to hear tales about how someone else accomplishes what they are being asked to do. Make sure to include even the vulnerable parts like second starts or mistakes. These added details lend to the fact that no one (even you, the expert) is perfect.
d. Add a chuckle. Practice ahead of time, so that you know when to pause for punchlines.
Pick a joke that relates to your topic and repeats a lesson within it. Smile, so your audience will know you’re playing.
e. Leave them inspired through prayer (if allowed), quotes, or poems. Don’t rush through the words. A good rule of thumb is to double the number of pauses you would naturally use in a regular conversation.
Finally, when wrapping it all up, thank your audience for giving you the gift of respect. They have stayed in their seats! Acknowledge them with gratitude.