Most people, dare I say 99% of them, ignore one part of their public speeches.

Though it’s a critical part, they overlook it.

In fact, I guarantee that if you went to a conference last week or church last Sunday, you saw a speaker do exactly what I am talking about today.

What is it?

What do most people ignore?

The ending.

Listen to the average speech and you will notice two things:

1. The opening story or first line is well crafted.

2. The ending just sort of ends.

As a professional speaker I did this for years!

I would carefully construct my first thought. I would work on my opening joke like a maniac, choosing each word with great care. And then the ending? That I would let happen “organically.” I would just sort of end whenever and wherever I stopped talking. No wrap up, no well constructed close, just an end.

This is why some pastors “close with a prayer.” They don’t know how to end a sermon so out of nowhere they ask you to bow your head in prayer. That’s not unique to churches either, that happens on Saturday Night Live as well. The opening lines of a skit are often brilliant, the closing lines? They often just close.

Next time you speak, spend as much time on the opening line as you do the close. Maybe even more. We tend to work on the opening line harder because we know we have to win the crowd over. But a bad ending can sink a great speech in the same way that a bad diet can kill a great workout.

Is it ever hard for you to figure out a great way to end a speech?