36 I Started Now, How Do I Finish?

You have riveted your audience with an engaging introduction. Your introduction led to a compellingly written and logically organized speech. Now, it is time to wrap up the entire experience, but how? Do not make the mistake of thinking, “Well, my speech is just about over at this point, so it doesn’t matter how I end it. ” You need a conclusion just as dynamic and memorable as your speech opener.

How do you feel when a movie has a disappointing ending that does not wrap up the story or, worse, simply leaves you hanging? You feel frustrated, quite possibly like you wasted your money and time. Your audience will feel the same way if your closing remarks do not provide effective closure for your speech. Too many speakers do not realize that when a speech fizzles out, the audience is left with a negative impression.

Your speech introduction and body may have included the most profound words known to man, but it could be said that a speaker is only as strong as her/his last sentence. You want your final sentences to be ones that are remembered and valued.

What a Speech Conclusion Is Meant to Do

The speech conclusion has four basic missions:

It tells the audience, “This speech does have an ending. “

Hopefully, your audience will want you to speak for an hour, rather than just five or eight minutes. However, when you transition into your conclusion and use appropriate signposting, your audience realizes that the speech will come full-circle.

It tells the audience, “Here’s what I told you. “

Just as you used a mapping statement to preview your main points, now you will summarize your points within your conclusion. Often simply rewording -or even restating -your original thesis statement in the past tense will effectively summarize your speech.

It says, “Remember this speech! “

If you have ever left a presentation and were given a handout upon your exit, you have been handed a “takeaway. ” Your speech conclusion is a mental takeaway for the audience. Your conclusion should contain enough memorable words and phrases that will help the audience positively recall the experience – and even recollect certain points that you made. Do not forget to include that “ta-da ” moment.


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Fundamentals of Public Speaking Copyright © by Lumen Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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