The goal of every speech is to share something with an audience in an interesting, informative way. The structure of every speech is the same. “You tell them what you are going to tell them. You tell them. Then you tell them what you told them.” These hold true for a closing speech as well. However, if you are asked to make a closing speech there are some unique elements to consider. Typically, closing speeches are designed to do two things: summarize and motivate.
How to Write a Closing Speech
Understand Speech Structure Every speech needs to have an introduction, a body and a conclusion. Most professional speakers write the body (main points) first and then write an effective introduction and conclusion. The body of the speech is the longest part. The introduction and conclusion are usually about the same length. During the introduction explain who you are and why you are speaking (briefly mention your credentials).
Summarize Key Ideas In the main body of your speech you want to remind them of the key events, activities or ideas of the evening or the weekend. People remember most the things that they hear first and last. If audience members have listened to several speakers and/or topics during a conference weekend, they can’t remember everything. It is the closing speaker’s job to remind them of the all-important take aways from the conference. You, the speaker, need to ask yourself this question when composing your speech: If the audience only remembers three things from this seminar what should they be?
Give Them a Clue The closing speech is the last thing the participants will hear. It needs to end with a bang, not a whimper. After you summarize key ideas you need to give a verbal clue that your speech is coming to an end. For example, you can say, “In closing" or "Before I leave today" or "Finally, I’d like to…” Audiences like knowing the end is near.
Make Them Feel Something Now you have moved into the conclusion of you speech. This is the time to persuade and motivate. This is sometimes phrased as “Make them feel something and give them something to do.” The summary of key ideas appeals to logic and reason. Now at then end of your speech you can appeal to your audience’s emotion. There are all kinds of emotions: pride, fear, anger and hope are a few examples.
Get Them to Take Action Now tell them what to do about these emotions. Examples: donate money to an organization, vote for a particular person, volunteer, etc. Be specific if you can. The more information they have, the more likely they are to do what you ask of them.
If you give it some thought and proper planning, your closing speech will be one that audiences remember long after you’ve left the podium.