Effectively Ending Your Speech

Speakers often worry about how to begin their speech. With a joke? A poignant story? A motivational idea? Thinking about how to end your speech is just as important and often overlooked. It is frequently left to an abrupt “um…thank you” following an awkward pause.

Why spend time planning an ending?

The first impression your audience has of you is what keeps them focused on your message during your speech. But how will they remember you? Will they remember you? Over time, many people will recall less than ten percent of what they hear. The more engaging you make your wrap-up, the more they will remember down the road. Ending with a call-to-action can greatly increase the long term impact of your words.

How to Wrap Things Up?

Circle the Wagons: Bring your speech back to where you began. A classic method of speech construction is to tell your audience what you’re going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them. Repetition is great for memory.

Last Things First: Writing the end of a speech first is an effective tactic. Think about what you want the audience to take away from your presentation. It’s also a good way to tie it in to the opening. Writing the ending first ensures that your speech concludes with your freshest thoughts. An important thing to remember when preparing your ending remarks is to:

Write them word for word: Treat the ending just as you do the rest of your speech. Know what you plan to say, what words and phrases you want to emphasize, and how you want your audience to feel when your presentation is over. The end is just as important as the rest of your speech and planning for it properly will keep it from sounding weak.

Inspiring quote: Can’t think of a good way to end your speech? Use a quote from another person. There are lots of great online quotation resources, including this one from Forbes.

Wrapping Up the Wrap Up

The end of your speech is too important to leave to chance. Know what you will say and what you want your audience to hear from you before you walk away or take you seat.

Try this: Take the last speech you gave that you thought could have ended better and apply one of the methods we just discussed. Consider what will make your audience want to talk and think about you as they leave your presentation to go back to the rest of their day. Try adding a call to action or an inspiring comment or anecdote, then redeliver the speech to yourself in the mirror. Next, apply the same technique to your next speech and see what happens. I would love to know how it went! Send me your thoughts and tell me if you thought you saw an improvement.

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The Five Minute Journal – Why I Use It

One of the simplest things you can do to be more focused, more productive and happier is to journal every day. Who has time for that? You do if you have a spare five minutes in your day.

The Five Minute Journal is designed for people who do not normally keep journals and it really only takes five minutes.

I have been using it for several months and it has improved the quality of my life dramatically.

This is great for someone (like myself!) who doesn’t journal due to lack of time or for someone that has a hard time sticking to things. It doesn’t require a lot of time because of its simplicity, it is guided and focuses on key areas of your life.

It is the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do in the evening every day.

The journal entry for the day is divided up into two parts of carefully chosen daily prompts, one section for morning and one for evening. Each part should take you no more than a few minutes.

The morning session consists of writing three things that you are grateful for, what three things would make today great and writing down a daily affirmation that always begins with I am _________.  This allows you to set the tone for your day by focusing on what you are grateful for and makes gratitude a habit, something that you incorporate into your daily life. Also, it allows you to plan your day around a purpose, write down what you really need to accomplish that day and try your hardest to stick to it.

If you keep these goals in mind throughout the day, you are less likely to get distracted and derailed by trivial things that always come along. Once you start sticking to your mini goals, it is an instant confidence booster.

The evening session prompts you to write down three amazing things that happened during your day and how could I have made my day better? This allows me to review my day and document what went well in addition to what did not. When you do this every evening, you will start to see trends that are developing over time. In addition to the prompts, there are really good quotes daily that are truly motivational.

The best part about this journal is that it has detailed directions on the best practices to get the most of your sessions.

The Five Minute Journal optimizes your life and does make you a happier person. It can declutter your brain and help you to focus on what you really need and want to accomplish.  It really trains your mind to focus on the positive things in your life. Also, it also encourages you to live a life filled with gratitude which will give your more joy and optimism and can even make you more generous and compassionate.

With all these benefits, I would say five minutes a day is well worth the investment.

*This is a product review and is a non-paid, non-affiliate endorsement of this journal.

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Butterflies – They’re Not That Big A Deal

Getting Butterflies

Studies have shown public speaking strikes fear in people more than anything else, including death. Even the best of speakers get butterflies and for most people, they never go away. Fortunately, you have choices; either you just learn to accept them or use them to your advantage.


Take the Focus Off You

You can ease your performance anxiety by trying not to think about your fear and how you are feeling. Many speakers will get in front of a group, and all they can think of is if their nervousness is evident and if the crowd will like them or not. By doing this you sabotage your speech by avoiding eye contact, appearing stiff or cold, and you may end up rushing through your presentation. You have to remember you not there to think about yourself, you are there to help others.

Focus on Your Audience

Have pride in yourself and know that you are there to help your listeners in some sort of way. Take the pressure off yourself by focusing on how you can serve them and you can use this in any facet of your life. When you pull yourself out of narcissistic type thinking and start doing things for others, you become a happier more fulfilled person, and that also applies to public speaking. Once you stop worrying, you can focus on what you are there to talk about.

Put It Out in the Open

One technique that you can use to get rid of nerves is just telling your audience right off the bat that you are nervous. You are using your fear to make a connection with your audience. When you open to your listeners about your right from the beginning, you create an authentic and honest relationship with them. In the video, Use Your Fear of Public Speaking to Create Genuine Emotional Connect, Sandra Zimmer shares her technique for turning her fear into a positive speaking experience.

Convert your Fear to Enthusiasm

It is important to remember that everyone gets nervous, it is normal. Even the great Johnny Carson was known to get so nervous every night before his show that he would be sick to his stomach. You can try to get rid of your fear, or you can harness that fear and turn that energy into zealousness. Use your fear to motivate you to improve your speaking skills. Visualize yourself talking and acting confidently and the audience responding well to you.

Next time you stand up to speak, either use a technique to forget your fear or use your fear to your advantage. Remember the goal and that is to impart inspiration on your audience. You are providing a great service that helps others, and that sense of purpose will bring you confidence.

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When Speaking – Just Be Yourself!

Although there is no right way to give a speech, you need to be a good communicator and the trick to that is to be yourself. Although this seems like it would be common knowledge some speakers still don’t put it into practice.

A lot public speakers that are normally lively, interesting and engaging individuals suddenly turn into totally different people once they get in front of the audience because that is what they think they are supposed to do. The audience does not want to hear a robot talking; they want to hear you.

“Be Yourself; Everyone Else Is Already Taken” – Oscar Wilde

So don’t try to impress people by using big words or trying to mimic someone else. When you are not being yourself, people can tell. Plus you won’t really be speaking from the heart, and you will come across as insincere to your audience.

Maintain Good Body Language

A lot of your impact as a speaker will depend on your body language. You need to be aware of the nonverbal messages that you are conveying. Expressing your emotions with strong, positive body language is essential to help build credibility and connect with your listeners. In addition remember to maintain good eye contact with your audience.

In his video, “Eye ContactConfidence Trick and Biggest Mistake,” Jimmy Naraine shares his secret for building rapport.

Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is very important to making a connection with them. You need to understand why your topic is important to the audience you are speaking to. Think about who will be in your audience and what they are expecting to learn from your presentation.

Think about the level of knowledge your audience has about your topic, so you know how to structure your speech to keep them engaged and interested. For example, if you are speaking to professionals in the field, adjust your level of information to a highly knowledgeable group. Conversely, tone it down for a novice audience.

Be Vulnerable

If your listeners don’t see that you are human just like them, you will create an artificial divide between you are your audience. People like to see that you can be insecure, scared and vulnerable. This puts you at their level, and they will relate to you better, making them more open to what you have to say.

Also, lighten up and use humor as part of your presentation. This will relax you and your audience will let their guard down creating a free-flow quality that will energize the room. Use your humor naturally, working in anecdotes from personal experience is always a good way to achieve interaction. Although a certain amount of humor is good, use caution when telling jokes. Make sure your joke will not be offensive to anyone and practice your joke on some friends first to see what of what kind of response you might receive.

When are you preparing for your next speech, relax and keep in mind that you are human like everyone else and that you are unique and have something to offer your audience that only you can deliver.

Summing Up

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