Helping Your Audience By Going After An Iceberg With A Shotgun

If how you wrap up your next speech is really the most important part of the speech, then what’s the best way to do it? The last thing in the world that you want to do is to end up leaving your audience flat – thanks for listening to me, got any questions? Instead, you need to have a collection of possible ways to close your speech that you can pick and choose from. I’ve got three for you to take a look at now: the iceberg, the shotgun, and the offer to help.

The Iceberg Closing
This type of closing is well suited to those speeches where you have a lot of interconnected details that you’ve laid out for your audience. Your challenge as a speaker is to find a way to remind your audience of everything that you’ve covered while not overwhelming them.

The key to this type of closing is to group the various points that you’ve made into two or three main conclusions. These are what you are going to want the audience to remember. During the close you’ll present your main point (tip of the iceberg) and then you’ll present the various points that support that main point (body of the iceberg).

Now there’s no way that your audience is going to remember your multiple supporting points. However, what they will remember are your two or three main points. They will even vaguely remember that you did a good job of explaining why they should support these main points – but they won’t remember all of your supporting points.

The Shotgun Closing
Let’s move on to a more tricky type of speech to give. Sometimes we are faced with the challenge of delivering a speech in which there is a lot of information that we need to get across to our audience. Now it’s nice if this information is related to each other in some way, but all to often that is not the case.

A good example of this would be if you were introducing people to a new piece of software. There are many things that you’ll have to talk about like how you log in, what the control bar does, where your files are saved, etc. In cases like this, you’ve got a challenge on your hands – it’s going to be all to easy to overwhelm your audience and have them walk away from your speech not remembering anything.

The shotgun closing provides you with a way to prevent this from happening. The shotgun closing starts, somewhat surprisingly, when you open your speech. The best way to do this is to give your audience a verbal quiz with multiple questions about the facts that you want them to walk away from your speech knowing. Clearly they won’t have the answers now, but have them take the quiz anyway.

Next, you deliver your speech and in your speech you need to step through each of the questions on the quiz in the same sequence that they were on your quize. Finally, as part of your closing, have your audience take the verbal quiz one more time. This combination of seeing / hearing / doing can do wonders for your audience’s ability to retain what you’ve said.

The “I’m Here To Help You” Closing
When you have a problem that you need to solve, who wouldn’t want someone to show up and offer to help you out? That’s exactly what this closing does for your audience.

This closing once again starts with your opening. In your opening, you need to identify the challenge that the audience is facing. Once you’ve done this, you then need to spend the body of your speech identifying the features of your product and then relate them to the goal of solving the challenge that your audience is trying to achieve.

Finally, in your closing you are going to want to take it up a level and review what your audience is trying to achieve, and then go over how your product will help them to achieve it.

What All of This Means For You
The way that you choose to close your next speech is perhaps the most important decision that you’ll make about that speech. In order to create the most powerful closing, you need to know as many different closing styles as possible.

Three powerful closing styles include the iceberg, the shotgun, and the “I’m here to help” approaches. The iceberg is good for summarizing lots of related points, the shotgun is a good way to get people to remember unrelated points, and the “I’m here to help” approach works to show people how your solution relates to their issues.

As with all such things in life, there is no one solution that is right for every speech that you’ll give. Instead, you are going to have to evaluate what you’d like to communicate to your audience and pick the closing that works best for you. Good luck!

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Dr. Jim Anderson
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Do you give speeches today, but want to learn how be more effective? Dr. Jim Anderson believes that great business skills are no substitute for poor presentation skills. Dr. Anderson will share with you the knowledge that he has gained while working to improve the speaking ability of both individuals and teams of speakers for over 20 years. Learn the secrets of effective speakers and really connect with your audience during your next speech. Article Source:

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