Your speech is great. You opened with a hook and hit all your main points.
Now, you’re about out of time, and you need to wrap it up. So what do you say?
Don’t blow your close. Don’t end with Q&A. The problem: you leave your audience remembering someone’s question instead of giving them a message to drive home your point. All that great compelling information is for naught.
Your audience remembers MOST what they hear LAST. So, your conclusion is the most critical element in any speech. Give a conclusion that leaves a lasting impression.
How? Here are three parts to a memorable conclusion that helps amplify your message.
A memorable summary.
Your conclusion signals that the end is near. You wrap it up without giving more new information.
“Tell the audience what you’re going to say, say it; then tell them what you’ve said.”—Dale Carnegie
Repetition is good thing. Punch it up for impact. Be creative. Be conversational. Be memorable. Use a story or a metaphor to summarize your main points and drive home your core message.
A compelling call-to-action.
After delivering your message, you need to ask your audience for something to get results. Now what? What can the audience do to act on your message? It’s the next natural step. Ask. Ask for another meeting or ask for funding or ask for advice. Whatever the ask, be specific. Focus on the one action that you’d like the audience to take next. And, make it easy for them to take that step.
A battle cry.
Don’t end your speech with your call-to-action. The pitch is about you, and what you can do to benefit the audience. The last words of your presentation are what is most remembered. It’s the message that your audience shares with others. Consider how you want them to feel. Create your ending from that emotion. Inspired. Angry. Empowered. Hopeful.
A remarkable conclusion gets the audience to remember your message long after you finished speaking. After the Q&A, leave them in a memorable way. Be creative with your summary. Give a clear call-to-action. Tap into how you want your audience to feel—use emotion as a hook. Again, make the final thought of your presentation a lasting one. Memorable. Repeatable. This is the message you want your audience recall.
Consider the impact of Martin Luther King’s “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” Or, the call of the revolutionaries “Give me liberty or give me death!” The slogans of advertising, such as AT&T’s “Reach out and touch someone” and KFC’s “Finger-lickin’ good!”