The poet Longfellow said, “Great is the art of beginning, but greater the art is of ending.” While this 19th century poet was referring to the poem, his words are equally applicable to public speaking. Many great presentations and speeches are less than stellar because of a weak or non-existent finish.

Yes, you must grab your listeners’ attention with your opening. It is a must if you want to capture your audience from the moment you begin. And, while your development – the ‘meat and potatoes’ of your speech or presentation – is the heart of your message, do not underestimate the value of your closing.

Ending your delivery with an effective closing can make all the difference in how successful you are on the public speaking circuit, in the courtroom, at the head of the conference table, or even in your presentation skills class. Obviously with the persuasive presentation, your main objective to sell something – be it your book at the back of the room, your defendant’s innocence, your services, or an A on your persuasive speech.

Do no think, however, that the closing for the informative is any less important. Whether it is a budget report for your company or a discussion about ferns to your mother’s gardening club, the informative presentation has a bit of persuasion in its nature. Be it to offer hope in the quarterly report or to urge backyard gardeners to grow more perennials, motivating your listeners with your closing can improve their professional or personal lives in some fashion.

While its value lies in leaving your audience with a very strong final impression, its purpose of your conclusion is two-fold:

1. To signal the end of your delivery; and,
2. To reinforce your message.

If your audience does not know in advance that you are coming to the end of your talk, then you lose the chance to make a lasting impression. If you do not reinforce your central idea, albeit briefly, then you again miss that opportunity.

Good endings take a great deal of thought and care. They need to be crafted well and yet be succinct at the same time. Once you tell your audience that you are, “In conclusion,” by all means get to it and do it. I have heard several speakers use those 2 words and then continue on for another 10 or 15 minutes.

There are several ways that you can close your speech or presentation which I will discuss in my next article, 4 Methods for Closing Your Speech That Will Make a Lasting Impression.

Author's Bio: 

The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. To see how voice training can improve your life, both professionally and personally, visit Voice Dynamic or watch a brief video as The Voice Lady describes Dynamic Public Speaking.

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