This is a post about the end of a speech. But let me start from the beginning.
Today 3000 people from 60 different countries met at the KL Convention Centre for the Global Entrepreneurship Community Conference. It was a very ambitious conference meant to inspire entrepreneurship in Malaysia and beyond. It was opened by the Prime Minister of Malaysia and the organisers had flown in some world class speakers from around the world: including Mike Walsh and Jon Duschinsky.
I am speaking tomorrow, but today I was just attending the conference to listen and learn about entrepreneurship, but also to watch other speakers speak.
And the takeaway for me today was the technique of ending your speech with energy.
Both Mike and Jon are high energy speakers, but it was interesting to see how they both had prepared an ending that was even MORE energetic, and which included playing background music while they finished off their speeches.
Ending a speech like that makes the speech more like a performance, reminding me of how musicals often end with a high energy, up-beat musical number to get the audience on their feet for the ending.
Turning your speech into a “performance” can be dangerous. It risks turning the audience against you with a feeling of “I did not come here for a show” or “This is too rehearsed”.
But done right, it infuses a lot of energy into the room.
Personally I prefer to end a speech based on the energy I feel the audience has, i.e. to customise the ending based on where I feel the audience is. (And then a pre-prepared musical number might make that more difficult, so I do not use music for my endings.)
But I was today reminded about the importance to leave some room for increasing the energy at the end of a speech.
It is so easy to think of the ending as: “Oh, thank God, I made it to the end…”
Instead think of the ending as the end of a tight 800 meter race and how you need to sprint at the end to win.
Lesson: Save some energy during the bulk of your speech so that you can “spring” to the finish line.