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,
Here’s an idea to end your speeches with something more engaging than “Thank you.” Reading time: 3:54
Last words linger. Movie buffs know that. I still cringe when I think of Anthony Hopkins’ cannibal character’s chilling last line in The Silence of the Lambs:
“I do wish we could chat longer but I’m having an old friend for dinner. Bye.”
And I always smile when I recall then 76-year-old Henry Fonda’s last line to Katharine Hepburn in the movie On Golden Pond:
“Wanna dance or would you rather suck face?
Yes, last words linger. That’s why I always grit my teeth a bit when public speakers let their last words just drop on the floor, brushed aside and tossed in the proverbial “Thank you” trash pile.
How can you can resist–the point of least resistance: ending your speech with a too familiar and therefore too ordinary “Thank you? “
Try these four steps: 1. Think of yourself as a drummer when you are concluding your speech. 2. Build to a crescendo. 3. End on a high note 4. Use short sentences in your concluding paragraph.
Here’s an example of the crescendo finish: Let’s say you were concluding a speech to persuade your audience to take some action and you want to use an oft quoted poem Life is an Adventure by that famous author — Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous. Notice how the short sentence structure increases the pacing and energy. “And so what we have been saying is that life is: