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Ending Your Speeches With a Drum Roll

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to end your speeches more emphatically. Reading time: 4:54.

            Those two words, powerful on the lips of every effective leader at the end of a project, are powerless at the end of a speech. That’s why the most effective leaders find a more powerful, more productive and more permeating way to conclude a speech.

      They drive toward their conclusion in high gear– with an attitude! Not a platitude (albeit politicians who can’t resist blessing America).  Maybe that’s why of the 217 speeches listed in William Safires’s anthology:  Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History, only seven conclude with “Thank you.”

     Indeed, effective speakers leave their audiences thinking the way effective comedians leave their audiences laughing. Consider these different ways of leaving your audience thinking:

            If you were concluding a speech on the importance of embracing change, you could say:

      “Our tomorrows need new and different solutions today. We have to recall the insight of President Abraham Lincoln on the brink of the Civil War. Lincoln said,

   ‘The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate for the stormy present and future,
as our circumstances are new, we must think anew and  act anew.”

      Another technique to shift your conclusions into a higher gear is to think of yourself as if you were a drummer in a band.

     Instead of drum sticks in your hand, you wield words on your tongue, words grouped in phrases and repeated to create a cadence that builds to a climax.

         “And so what we have been saying is that life is an adventure: dare it. A duty, perform it. An opportunity, take it.   A journey, complete it, A promise, fulfill it. A puzzle, solve it. A goal, achieve it.”

        Your voice booms with an energy and an enthusiasm, followed by stark silence.  That last phrase “Achieve it” is still ringing in the audience’s ears.

        You look directly into the eyes of one member of the audience and you count to yourself 1001, 1002, 1003 while that “Achieve it” phrases continues to ring in their ears.

       Let that last phrase — “achieve it” –sink into the minds and hearts of the audience. Then you step away from the podium, and bow your head. The audience will see your cue and start to applaud.

Now Let Me Hear From You

        If you simply can’t wait for the audience applause, fight the urge to say “thank you.” Instead say: “Now let me hear from you. Who has the first question?” If the audience is still reticent you ask yourself the first question to prime the audience pump. “One question that seems to be on the minds of many people I talk to about this is…”

        Here are 15 other ways that you can end a speech effectively without resorting to the well-worn, thank you. These key phrases are like highway signposts –markers that tell the audience it’s time for you to exit the highway of ideas you’ve been driving down, markers that tell the audience it’s time for them to hop in the driver’s seat and take your message even further down the road.

 1. Appreciative: And so let me applaud you for what you have done…

 2. Benediction: “May God bless and keep you…

 3. Challenge: In closing, I challenge you to….

 4. Circular: So we arrive at where we began and I trust that…

 5. Expectation: I look forward to…

 6. Interrogative: Ask a question…

 7. Invitation: Join us and know that together we can make the world a better place…

 8. Pre-emptory: As I close, let me ask myself the first question…..

 9. Proverbial: May the transformational force be with you…

 10. Ritual: An so in closing, I close the book on this chapter and look forward to….

 11. Salutation: I salute you and your organization….

 12. Sing Song: So let me hear it one more time , what should we do ? (audience response)

 13 . Solicitation: And so let me conclude by asking you for your help.

 14. Suggestive: Before I take your questions, let me close with this thought….

15. Summation: And so what we have been discussing here today is….

           Now let me use that last technique–the summation to end this post.  And so you have 15 ways to end your speech in a way that your audience’s will more fully remember what you said and will more likely to act on your words. Use one of those effective closings and chances are the audience will Thank YOU.

Today’s ImproveMINT

End Speeches Dynamically to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

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