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Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Closing Stages- The Time To Get Remembered

When a speaker conduct his speaking infront of a group of audience, he/she need to communicate the message that he/she likes to do. And for this communication of message, speaker need to generate audience attention into the speech and more over he/she need to sustain that attention throughout the speech. At the same time, when speaker ends or close his speech he need to ensure a good closing. Because, closing is the thing which people remember for longer and the total speech's success ultimately depends on the closing. A good closing make the speech a successful one, make the speaker an effective speaker with good speaking skill.

Having started successfully, and carried the talk on effectively without losing the audience’s attention, time is up and you now have to finish. How do you do this successfully? There are tactics for finishing, just as there are tactics for opening, and thought about what you are trying to achieve will, as always, improve the performance. Many people feel that the ending is more than half the battle. Certainly, the impression which the audience will carry away with them will be strongly influenced by what happens in the last few minutes of the talk.

The essential aim is to round off the presentation on an up beat. You can, for instance, get attention again by a vital, arresting and memorable fact or idea. Another way of finishing is to tie up all the loose ends by restating the sub-headings you used, restating the main heading or title of the talk, and restating the conclusion you came to. But whichever tactic you choose, it is important to remember that the last sentences must be telling. So the encoding you chose for your closing remarks should be memorable. Try to find a good phrase, a witty or stylish way of putting the point, or some clear statement of the main aim of the talk, for the last thing you say. It can help to have the last sentence or two written down in your notes. If you are nervous about forgetting it, or getting confused, it may even be worth trying to learn it off by heart.

The virtue of all these tactics is that they will save you spoiling the effect of the presentation by falling into a weak or confused ending, which trails off in embarrassment. A surprising number of speakers seem unable to end firmly, but mumble on with increasing indecision at the end of their talk. Never end weakly with: ‘Shall I go on? …’; or ‘What I should have said if I’d had time was…’; or ‘What I intended to say was…’; or ‘I think that’s all I have to say’. The audience will remember the last point, or sentence, clearly. If that last sentence is a shambolic confusion of indecision, with the texture of a rice pudding, then the whole talk will be remembered as weak. End boldly, with a final statement of your main point which you fly like a banner, before sitting down.

The aim of the concluding sentences is to make sure that your talk goes somewhere. It should not just peter out in confusion. Karl Lashley told a nice anecdote:

I attended the dedication, three weeks ago, of a bridge at Dyea, Alaska. The road to the bridge for nine miles was blasted along a series of cliffs. It led to a magnificent steel bridge, permanent and apparently indestructable. After the dedication ceremonies I walked across the bridge and was confronted with an impenetrable forest of shrubs and underbush, through which only a couple of trails of bears led to indeterminate places.

Make sure that your proudly constructed talk does not lead to a wilderness of bear-tracks! It is also a courtesy, if you are speaking as part of a longer seminar, conference, or presentation, to prepare the ground for the next topic and speaker. Something simple like: “It’s now coffee time. After a ten minute break, Alan will tell you about the stress calculations used in the project,” will form a neat conclusion. This tactic helps to give the audience a sense of continuity.

If you are not followed by someone else, make sure that you end as strongly as possible. ‘So we see that nutrition is a vital element in the health of the community’, or ‘Voice-recognition is developing rapidly, and within ten years will be commonplace’, or ‘the familiar chlorate process, which is the mainstay of our company profits, is much more complex than most of us realize’, is the sort of clear statement that is needed. If you start clearly, keep people aware of where you are going throughout the talk, whether it is short or long, and end firmly and impressively, your talk is going to be remembered as an effective presentation. Judging by the average standards of presentation one hears, it may well be the best of the day.