The voice of authority is one that any audience will respond to. However, all too often you and I just don’t represent enough of an authority figure to command that level of respect from an audience that didn’t know us before we started to speak to them. If we want to wrap up our speech in a way that will leave a lasting impression with our audience, we need to find a way to use a voice of authority to deliver our last few words to them…
Bring In Moses
It really doesn’t matter what your religious beliefs are (or for that matter, what the religious beliefs of the members of your audience are). That’s because everyone knows the story of Moses: he went up the mountain, got some instructions on how to live his life, and came back down with the 10 commandments written on two stone tablets.
What this means for you as a speaker is that your audience is already primed and ready to “receive” 10 commandments from you – and they will instantly associate them with the story of Moses. In fact, they may even start to treat you as if you were Moses and the “10 commandments” that you are presenting to them will be treated as if they come from a higher power.
No matter how this unfolds, presenting your closing points in the form of 10 concise statements makes them very easy to both understand and remember. What you are doing is making it easy for your audience to grasp your main points and to remember them long after your speech is over.
Use An Authoritative Quote To Close
Often times there is a single individual who is associated with the topic that we are talking about. If we’re talking about people getting along, Gandhi or Dr. Martin Luther King comes to mind. If it were about space travel then Neil Armstrong would be one of the first people that we’d think about.
Since your audience already knows about this person and the fact that they are somehow a figure of authority in regards to the topic that you are talking about, why not invite them to say a few words during the closing of your speech.
By taking the time to research your subject area and to identify the individuals who are the authority figures for that area, you are already well on your way to winning your audience over. Now take the time to study the quotes that those important figures have made – which one most closely aligns with the closing message that you want to leave with your audience?
When you use a quote from an authority figure, for a brief moment it is as if that person was in the room. With a little luck and if you’ve selected the right quote, then it will also appear as though they are endorsing or echoing what you’ve just said. This is what it takes to make sure that your message makes a lasting impact on your audience.
What All Of This Means For You
No matter how fantastic the opening of your speech is or how many powerful points you made during the body of your speech, it’s really how you go about closing the speech that will make the difference. Now you have two more ways to do this well.
Using the 10 Commandments closing technique allows you to boil down the main points in your speech into “10 commandments”. Your audience will recognize this format and will treat it with additional respect. You can also use authoritative quotes as a way to include an authoritative figure in your closing and make it appear as though they endorse the points that you have made.
In order for your speech’s closing to make an impact on your audience, it must have authority. No matter if you choose to create your own 10 commandments or if you invite a respected figure to provide a quote for you to use, adding this kind of authority to your closing will ensure that you end your speech on a high note.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™
Question For You: Can you think of a situation in which using the “10 Commandments” closing would be the wrong way to go?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
A bad global economy means one thing for workers: loss of jobs. Just about every company has gone through this painful experience as firms have struggled to find ways to stay afloat during the most recent global recession. Into this environment, public speakers can find themselves asked to give a speech to a dispirited audience. How the heck are you going to give a good speech to an upset audience?