Now that I have talked about how to start your speech, we need to look at the ways you can finish your speech with impact.
Whether your speech is prepared or “on the spot”, never indicate when you are about to finish. You will lose the attention of your audience immediately as they focus on what is happening next or what they need to do next….or worse still, they will head for the door…before you have delivered your final summation or call to action.
So what do you do when you realise you have a short space of time left and you haven’t covered all the points you prepared for your speech? Do not be tempted to work through them all at pace – this will destroy any attention and respect you have gained from the audience up to this point. Instead go directly to your conclusion which should summarise everything you were going to talk about. Then smile or acknowledge the audience, step back and breathe.
Do not apologise for not getting through all you had planned – no-one knows that but you. You want your audience to remember your final words whether that is a summation of the ideas presented or a call to action they should take. You want them to go away talking about your speech and the content you presented.
It is much better to have a satisfied audience wanting to hear more than one that has become bored or fidgetty because you have run over time.
In my experience, the most interesting way to finish a speech is with a question. You are handing the information and ideas you have presented to the audience and challenging them to either think or take action. Isn’t that the result you want?