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Nous sommes un club bilingue!
Le club St-Lawrence Toastmasters est un club bilingue à Montréal. Nos réunions hebdomadaires se déroulent en français et en anglais.

We are a bilingual club!
Located in downtown Montreal, St-Lawrence Toastmasters is a bilingual club. All meetings are held in both English and French.

We recently had the privilege of hearing a speech from our long-time Toastmasters member Christian, based on The Better Speaker’s Series. He talked about how to prepare a well-crafted conclusion that gives a sense of closure by summarizing the main points and makes an impact for a long-lasting impression by your audience.

Christian kindly prepared an article on this subject so that it can be of benefit to all of us Toastmasters.

Here is the article prepared by Christian :

CONCLUDING YOUR SPEECH

This article aims to set out and discuss the criteria for concluding your speech.

Preliminary remark. An excellent speech may lose most of its effectiveness as a result of a poor conclusion. Like a balloon losing its air.

If you want people to remember your speech, you must conclude positively and forcefully. Why? Because people remember longest the last thing they hear.

THE PURPOSE OF A CONCLUSION. Understanding what a conclusion is meant to achieve is the first step to a good closing.

1.A sense of closure. You need to signal to the audience that you are ending and remind the listeners to pay even more attention to your closing words. Toastmasters usually use the following words to signal the ending: in conclusion, let me end or in summary. I personally like to say Dear Toastmasters or Ladies and Gentlemen, thus alerting the audience that I will be ending and leading them to closure.

2.Summarize the main points. The conclusion allows you to sum up your speech. I have found a simple formula in Italo Magni’s workshop, published by Eloquence Communications:

A structure that never fails.
Say it
Show it
Sum it up.

Another method of summarizing is the three Ts method:

Tell them what you will tell them.
Tell them.
Tell them what you told them.

3 .Make an impact. It is well-known that people will forget 50% of your speech within 24 hours and 75% within 48 hours. You only have one chance to make a lasting impression on your audience. Make your conclusion striking, forceful or meaningful and give yourself a chance that they will remember your speech long after.

4.Time. A conclusion should last between 5 to 10% of your speech time. In a standard 7 minute speech, allow yourself 20 to 40 seconds.

CLOSING TECHNIQUES. One or more of the following techniques are recommended for a successful closing.

1. A QUOTATION. A quotation adds authority to your presentation: it can entertain or dramatize a point you have made. Please listen to the conclusion of Jeannine Scott’s speech given at the St. Lawrence Toastmaster Club 60th Anniversary as an excellent example of an appropriate quote:

I’d like to close by paraphrasing Coco Chanel.
Nature gave you the face that you have at the age of 20.
Life shapes the face that you have at the age of 40.
But at 60, you get the face that you earned.
Happy 60th Anniversary St. Lawrence Toastmasters.

2. TELL A STORY. To be effective, the story or anecdote must be short and relevant to your message. Make it personal, if possible. Bill Cove, a great Toastmaster, used to say to his colleagues: Make a point, tell a story. Make a point, tell a story. Make a point, tell a story. People would come to him years later and remind him of his story. He would answer: Then, you got my point!

3. CALL FOR ACTION. When you urge your audience to take action, make it crystal clear what action they need to take. In my old Communication and Leadership Manual(1969) I chose the subject of Indifference, which I described as a disease in society, as the theme for my 15th and last Speech-Make your Speech Challenging .After reviewing certain steps to fight indifference , my conclusion went as follows:

Ladies and Gentlemen, I urge each one of you to fight indifference with all your strength but in your own personal special way. I have suggested a plan of action. Develop yours.

If we fail to fight indifference, the alternative is frightening indeed. MAX LERNER, an American educator and editor, has stated: EITHER MEN WILL LEARN TO LIVE LIKE BROTHERS, OR THEY WILL DIE LIKE BEASTS. The choice is yours. Don’t be afraid to act. My friends, I have faith in you .You possess the ability and the tools to fight indifference. You possess the magic of soothing words, the magic of transforming, through your acts, a tragic situation into a happy one. USE THESE WONDERFUL TOOLS AND YOU WILL MAKE IT A BETTER WORLD-THIS IS YOUR BUSINESS.

4. ASK A RHETORICAL QUESTION. End your speech by asking the audience one question related to your topic. The audience will think of an answer and become involved with your point.

5. REFER TO THE BEGINNING OF YOUR SPEECH. This technique brings the listener back to your central theme stated at the beginning. Let me refer to the2012 District Contest Speech of our member, Pietro di Benedetto. His theme revolved around the possibility of change as long as you are alive. His opening words introduced his theme:

Have you ever met someone with a lifelong regret? You’re looking at him!

My suggestion, in order to reinforce the message of that theme, would be to end the speech in the following manner by a reference to the beginning:

Dear Toastmasters. Do you carry a lifelong regret, whether as a family member, a friend or, perhaps, as a Toastmaster? (and then the call for action).

6. SUMMARY OF YOUR MAIN POINTS. The conclusion gives you an opportunity to highlight each of the essential points made in the body of the speech. I stress here that the points should be meaningful to your audience.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS. Certain tips will ensure a forceful ending.

1. Memorize your conclusion. First, write it out and then memorize it. You will gain confidence that you will deliver your conclusion smoothly. This will add impact to your speech. People remember best the last words.

2. End on time. Beginners and even seasoned Toastmasters may panic as they see the 7 minute red light and rush through their conclusion. The most beautiful ending will be worthless if you do not have time to deliver it! It has happened to me, even after many years of experience. So, practice your conclusion and allow yourself 15 seconds leeway before you end.

3. Do not add new points. You may have forgotten a point during the body of your speech. A conclusion is not the place to insert it. It will probably throw you off balance as you juggle to fit it in your conclusion, take valuable time and will confuse the audience.

THE REWARD OF A WELL-CRAFTED CONCLUSION. Creating and delivering a well-crafted CONCLUSION enhances your speech and makes a lasting impression which helps the audience remember your speech.

This outline has been adapted from Toastmasters International The Better Speaker’s Series Set- CONCLUDING YOUR SPEECH, published by Toastmasters International.

Christian Turianskyj, ATMSilver, St. Lawrence Toastmasters, Number 606, District 61.