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Public Speaking Course: 

How to Close a Speech

Professional presenters know that one of the biggest mistakes you can make during your speech is to talk too long. You will send some members of the audience off to never, never land, and make others downright mad. It doesn't matter whether your speech was presented well and the audience came away with great information. If you talk too long, they will leave saying, "That speaker just didn't know when to stop." Don't let this happen to you! Say what you came to say and then sit down. You will learn a lot about using good closings in my public speaking course, but here are a few ideas to get you started.

A good closing is very important because the last thing you say is usually what the audience will remember when they leave. That means that you must put as much time into selecting and practicing your closing as you put into the rest of  your presentation. Just like with your opening, your closing doesn't necessarily need to be humorous. It could be motivational, challenging, thoughtful, or it could restate your main point or idea in a different way. This ending segment should have a strong influence on what the audience takes home with them when you are done.

Making an impact and being remembered by your audience is part of using what you learned in your public speaking course. To help your audience remember your speech, ask them to do something during the course of your presentation. Many a great NO ZZZZZs presentation went no further than the walls of the meeting room because the audience wasn't moved to action. If you haven't ask them to do something by the end of your presentation, the closing is your last chance.

If the subject allows, I like to use humorous closings for several reasons. If you leave them laughing and applauding as you exit, you will leave an extremely positive impression.
Another good reason to leave them laughing is that the room will not be totally silent as you are walking back to your seat. I hate when that happens. I do love laughter and feeling good; finishing a speech
in a funny way gives me and the audience an opportunity to feel great. Speeches that are for entertainment purposes only should generally leave the audience laughing. All of these are great tools you can practice during a public speaking course.

Lastly, if the subject is not appropriate to end with laughter, you
could end with a touching story or quotation that leaves the audience
thoughtful and quiet. Even the most serious subjects
can benefit from humor, so learn to practice these skills in your public speaking course.  The humor should be well sprinkled throughout the body of the presentation. Don't put it at the end because closings are powerful and the audience will think your overall attitude toward the subject is flippant.

This same technique can be very effective in ending a mostly humorous
speaking engagement. Have them laughing all along while you make your
points. Then finish seriously. This contrast will create a great
impact. It will convey the fact that you believe in a lighthearted
approach to the subject, but the results are very serious to you.

Don't be afraid to use humor when you speak in public. Just make sure
you remember what you learned in your public speaking course  and deliver it right.

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