Public Speaking – Preparing Your Conclusion

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The conclusion to your speech is very important because your audience will form their lasting impression of you and your speech from it.
Conclusions will vary from speech to speech, but the following components are usually incorporated.

1. Summarize

This step summarizes the main points of your speech. An audience requires help to remember what has been said. It can just be a list of the highlights of your speech. Alternatively a less formal approach is to list the points in a summary sentence.

2. Benefits

This can be a helpful component. It helps to remind the audience of why they should listen to your talk. Without a worthwhile reason there is no reason for the audience have listened to your speech. Because of the importance of this reason it can justify the repetition of the benefits component from the introduction.

3. Call to Action

This need only be included where the purpose of the speech is change the audience’s emotion, belief or action or any combination of these, such as when giving a persuasive or motivational speech.
The essential element is to make very clear the essence of the speech or a call for a definite action for example “Therefore act now, sign the petition before you leave this room.”
As with the introduction to a speech there are 2 important characteristics of a conclusion;-
(i) Brevity – if you go on too long, you audience will get bored and start to ask “When will they finish?”
(ii) Relevance – a new point included here can confuse the listener and destroy the effectiveness of your speech
So keep the conclusion of the speech relevant and brief and finish strongly covering the benefits, highlights and a call to action as appropriate, e.g. therefore act now, include a summary and a benefits section in the conclusion to your speech.    

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