Writing the Icebreaker: Part three

In Part one, you learned the first steps to creating an Icebreaker speech; the first speech you will give in your Toastmasters club. In Part two, we took our example message and worked on our opening remarks. Next, let’s put together the closing.

First, let’s look why the closing is important:
Remember, people remember how you start your presentation and how you finish. Not that your main points aren’t important, but the rule of primacy and the rule of recency are simply human nature. It’s important to be aware of that.

Second, some “don’t do’s” for the closing:
– Don’t finish with the words “Thank You”. More about thanking the audience here.
– Don’t finish with a Q&A (this really doesn’t apply for the first ten speeches anyway).
– Don’t finish with your third main point. If the green light comes on before you finish your third point, you want to abbreviate that point so you can deliver your conclusion.

What’s the goal?
– Tie your message together
– Leave your audience with the feeling that you’ve finished
– Make it memorable

How do you do that? For our example Icebreaker, we used thees three main points:
First Point: Where I grew up
Second Point: Where I work
Third Point: My family and hobbies

Option 1. Simply review the points.
“I want to thank you for inviting me into your club, and for giving me the time to introduce myself to you. You’ve learned a little about how I grew up in Las Vegas, how I currently work for Trump Enterprises, and how my hobbies include reading everything written by Stephen Covey and Alan Weiss. I’m sure you will agree with Dr. Covey when he says, ‘In the last analysis, what we are communicates far more eloquently than anything we say or do.'”

Option 2. Tell a story.
Do you have a story that ties those three points together?
“When my Mother and I used to bake cookies, I would always tell her that I couldn’t wait to have my own pastry shop. Now I’m teaching my own daughter to make delectable deserts! I really appreciate how what I learned growing up helped shape who I am today. More importantly, improving my communication skills here with all of you will help shape who I am tomorrow, and help me better shape my daughter’s future as well.”

Tied together:
Where you grew up: Mom’s Kitchen (doesn’t always have to be a city name)
Where you work: Your own business
Family and hobbies: Cooking with your daughter

Option 3. Finish with a call to action.
This works if you have a message with your story. When you transition to your closing, you may want to ask a question about their relationship with a family member, and then challenge them to strengthen that relationship before they suffer a loss like yours, or something similar to that.

These are not the only options for closing a presentation, but they are some that will work well with your Icebreaker speech at a Toastmasters club, and can work well in other settings as well. The call to action (Option 3) is especially geared toward inspirational and sales presentations.

Coming in the next part, putting together the 3 main points in the body of your presentation.

<Editors note: Here is another excellent related blog entry from Craig Valentine http://www.craigvalentine.com/3-keys-to-closing-your-speech-with-impact/>

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