Just land the plane! We’ve all sat in talks where it feels like the speaker is coming in to land, only for them to take off and circle round again. Few things are more jarring for the listener expecting resolution. Too many of us give too little attention to the end of our talks assuming it’ll just ‘come out’ in the moment. In reality it doesn’t. I’d encourage all speakers to spend much more time carefully crafting their ending to ensure maximum rhetorical punch. Why spend all that time prepping only for your message to fizzle out in the closing straight. So here’s a few ideas of ways in which you can end a talk well:
- Camera pull-back – summarise the big idea in a pithy and compelling way (craft this well; don’t just presume it’ll ‘come out’).
- Call to action – give a clear application of what to do with what has been heard.
- Quote – a pithy sentence/paragraph, verse of a poem, a hymn that captures something of what you have been trying to say.
- Repetition – perhaps close with a repeated ‘phrase that stays’ that you’ve been using throughout the talk.
- Story – a good can illustrate the content of the message (could be positive or negative example).
- Key text – re-read your key verse as a way to summarise and close.
- Narrative symmetry – loop back to the thing/question/story you started with to bring resolution.