Your Speech Is Not Over When You Are Done Talking

by drjim on June 10, 2014

Just because you reach the end of your speech does not mean that it's over

Just because you reach the end of your speech does not mean that it’s over
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When is a speech really over? Is it when the last word has passed your lips? Is it when you step down off of the stage? It turns out that neither of these answers is correct. Your next speech won’t be over until your audience tells you that it’s over.

Why What Happens After A Speech Is So Very Important

I don’t know about you, but after I get done speaking I’m drained. I just want to get off the stage, sit down, and take a load off. However, it turns out that this is never what my audience wants me to do. Instead, they view the completion of my speech as the opening act in the next part of my presentation. This all has to do with the importance of public speaking.

My audience has a number of different needs. They want to meet me. They want to shake my hand. They want to have a photograph taken with me. The list goes on.

What I always have to remind myself is that interacting with my audience after my speech is over is a key part of the speech. One can think of this as being a kind of post speech performance. My audience expects me to be the same person after my speech as I appeared to be when I was giving my speech.

Three Ways To Accept Praise Gracefully

One of the most difficult things that I’ve had to learn how to do after a speech was over is to accept praise from my audience. I don’t get a lot of praise every day and so this is not something that I’m used to. The first thing that I struggle with is when people complement me and tell me that my speech was fantastic. My gut reaction is to disagree with them. I’ve learned that it is much better to not contradict what my audience is telling me and instead I just go along with it.

With a crush of audience members swarming you after you give a speech, they all want to tell you something. You’re not going to have enough time to have a long drawn-out talk with each of them. I’ve discovered that you need to keep your interaction with each member of your audience short and simple. What I’ve discovered works best is a simple “thank you”.

Finally, when you are responding to the praise that your audience is showing to you, you need to be sincere in your responses. Your audience will be able to tell if you don’t mean what you are saying and that will make you appear to be very conceited. Take the time to acknowledge each person who showers you with praise and thank them for their kind words.

What All Of This Means For You

The next time that you give a speech you need to realize that just because you’ve stopped talking, your speech is not over. You need to think of every time that you give a speech as being an event and that event is not over until your audience tells you that it’s over. One of the benefits of public speaking for your audience is what happens after you are done giving your speech.

What this means for you is that you need to take the time to interact with your audience after you speech is done. This is going to be critical in establishing how your audience views you – will they ever want to hear another speech from you? Use one of the 3 ways that we discussed to gracefully accept praise from your audience.

One way to think about your next speech is that it’s really just the beginning of your interaction with your audience. The actual opportunity to interact and connect with your audience won’t be over until they tell you that it’s over. Make sure that you take the time to have a positive interaction with your audience after you complete your speech and your audience will leave with a positive impression of both you and your speech.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that you should take steps to limit the amount of time you spend interacting with your audience after a speech?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Not all speeches are equal. In fact, some speeches are much more dynamic and aggressive than others. One great example of this is a debate. A debate is a great way to show the importance of public speaking. In a debate, you can prepare for the discussion, but you can’t completely prepare for it. Instead, you’re going to have to think on your feet. As you might well imagine, this style of speaking can get to be quite tricky very quickly…

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