The End of Your Speech

What do you do at the end of your speech?

When judging speech contests, it’s a recognized phenomenon that the first and last speakers are the ones that get the most brain space in the judge’s mind.  It’s the same with our speeches.  People remember the opening and the conclusion.  We hope they will remember our call to action.  This is why it is critical to put effort into the end of your speech.

This is my worst skill.  I struggle over conclusions.  Despite my insistence on this podcast to write your ending first, I still fail to nail the landing more than I succeed.

Today on the podcast, we’ll talk about the end of a speech:  how to build to a great conclusion – as soon as you know what that is.


Are you looking for a way to change the world?  To make an impact on the people and situations around you?  Then you need public speaking and leadership skills.  That means you need Toastmasters.  Every week, you can spend an hour learning the techniques and finding your voice and have fun while you do it.  This is Toastmasters 101 and I’m your host, Kim Krajci.

The End of My Speech:  Crash and Burn?

Last week, I gave a speech from the Visionary Communications path from Level 5:  Develop Your Vision.

The irony dripped from this speech.  The purpose of that project is to develop a vision and long-term goals to achieve a specific change in your life or your business or organization.

I have issues with this idea.  Frankly, I think we spend a lot of time spinning our wheels talking about vision statements and mission statements and goal setting – and wear ourselves out, drowning whatever motivation we had in the swamp of building expectations and plans.  Ok, so that’s my take.  I know that I’m not in agreement with the rest of the world, but hey, I do me.

If you have a problem with a speech project, it’s hard to do it.  And this is why this project sat on my to-do list for so long.  It’s been 5 months since I finished all the other projects for this path.

Irony in My Speech

And frankly, although I say I don’t like visions, missions, and goals, essentially, that was what the whole “create a storytelling path” was.  As I said, lots of irony here.

I created a presentation to go along with my speech – I had the perfect graphics, including pictures of the references I used to put this path together.

But when I started the presentation – all of the graphics disappeared.  They were there before and they’re back – but for the 10 minutes of this presentation, they were not to be seen.  Which means I skipped to slide 4 where my text was visible.

That noise you hear?  That’s me banging my head on my desktop.  I didn’t want to take time to reboot or reload, so I went with it.  I had the notes under the black slides, so I did the best I could to remember what the images were supposed to prompt me to talk about.

Then we got to the end of the speech.  Another blank slide.

The End of My Speech Slide Deck is Blank!

I took a deep breath and completely forgot what it was that I wanted to say as a conclusion to this speech.  I’m sure that it was something witty about the irony of giving a speech about how I fail to appreciate the power of developing visions and missions and goals when that was I had just spent the last year doing.

Instead, I said something else about how we need to take the Toastmasters Pathways projects and make them work for us, regardless of the project’s goals.  I’ve got 3 Distinguished Toastmasters awards, including one in Pathways.  No other path interested me, but storytelling does, so creating a path that meets my needs and challenges me is a lot more important than filling the letter of the law.

Then I remember we have a guest:  Marta.  Marta is brand-new to Toastmasters and is preparing her first ice breaker speech and here I am, telling her to ignore it if it doesn’t work for her.


I thought I was droning on and I was a bit worried.  But I wrapped it up, finally, and waited for Mo, my evaluator, to nail me on rambling on my conclusion.

Evaluation at the end of the speech?

Instead, I got compliments on it.

My take-aways from this:

  1. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to take away that if I feel like I’m rambling at the end of the speech that I am doing better.
  2. I have learned my lesson that I need to check a third time to be sure my presentation is going to play properly before the meeting starts.
  3. The call to action needs to be specific, personal to the members of the audience (not general) and put some persuasion – logos, pathos, and ethos – into it.

With all this in mind, let’s take a look at your conclusions.

Your call to action must be crafted, not thrown on at the end of your speech.

I have said many times that you need to know where you’re going in a speech to make sure you get there.  That’s why you start at the end, and after you write the rest of the speech, you come back and refine it.

Let’s get specific:  use the persuasive techniques at the end of your speech in that call to action to move your audience into action.  Appeal to their character, whether it’s their competitive spirit or their inner call to excellence.  Lay out the rationale for why this action needs to be done and when.  Capture their hearts with emotional benefits of doing what you ask.

It works.  But you work to do it.  I don’t believe this trio comes naturally to most people.  We have to think about it.

Consice or rambling at the end of your speech?

That’s why I felt like I was rambling.  I didn’t have it as concise as I normally do.  I spelled out my call to action in my appeal to my audience’s self-interest.  I downplayed the structure of the path in exchange for their goals and reason for joining Toastmasters.  I said that this method of using the Pathways program will be the best way for them to grow.  I offered to help.

Ethos.  Logos.  Pathos.  Accidentally, I hit all three.

Often, I put those in the middle of my speech, not at the end.

Put the middle in the middle.

In scriptwriting, it’s called laying the track or laying the pipe.  It’s prepping the audience before the ending that what ultimately happens is reasonable, fair, and appeals to us emotionally.  We want the villain to fail, we want the hero to succeed.

You have to know what that ending is first.  By identifying your call to action, your middle is built to support that.

In my speech, I spent some time talking about the way that I changed up the elective in Level 5 for this path to be more about storytelling.  There were several project choices in Level 5, but none that I felt truly fit in with storytelling.

So I merged “Ethical Leadership” and “Moderate a Panel Discussion” into a story slam.  Story slams are contests between storytellers.  Our club had its January open house turned into a story slam.  Each story told by the speaker was about an ethical question they faced in their lives.

The members loved this meeting.  We had a few guests – we need better marketing – but every time it comes up in conversation, the people who attended say how much they enjoyed it.

I could have ended the speech with that.  “We had fun, let’s do it again sometime.”

Nope.  That belongs in the middle of the speech because it lays the pipe for the final conclusion:  change the path to suit your needs.  Call it foreshadowing.  Call it warming up the audience for the big finale.  Call it whatever you want, but put it in the middle.

Sum It Up?

Should the end of your speech just sum it all up?

The school of thought of “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, Tell them what you’re telling them, and tell them what you told them” means that in your conclusion, you’re telling your audience the same thing three times.

Do you like being told the same thing three times?

I don’t love that.

Then there’s the summation.

How is this not repetition?

It’s not a repeat if, at the end of your speech,  you help your audience draw conclusions that lead into the call to action.

For example:

We’ve examined the need for better dandelion breeding and our commitment to developing this undervalued plant as a food source.  You may never have considered what you do to dandelions and how it has an impact on your lawn.  Now is the time to reconsider your use of pesticides as a way to control these valuable plants – not weeds – to improve your gardens.  The next time you look at a dandelion, remember the good that this singular plant has and instead of ripping it out of the ground, give it a little loving pat and an encouraging word.  Let that yellow flower bloom and grow!

End your speech with actions that result from the information you gave in the middle of your speech.

End of Your Speech Podcast Ending?

I’m at the end of my podcast now.  I guess I should say something really insightful and witty, right?

Don’t signal to your audience that you’re about to wrap up.  They’ll figure it out.  That’s why “in conclusion” isn’t worth the breath to say it.  Just get to your final words – which is why although my podcast show notes almost always say “Wrap it up, Kim” I never say that.

When you end your speech with a challenge, with an emotional kick that motivates people to action, you’ve nailed your conclusion.

That doesn’t happen by accident.  I encourage you to write your conclusion first, then the body, and then the intro, but don’t forget to come back around to make sure you’ve got the right conclusion to your speech.  You may need to edit and make changes to bring it home with strength and verve.  It’s worth the effort and time to make your speech as powerful as you need it to be.


Wrap it up, Kim

Toastmasters 101 is a podcast production of Toastmasters District 10

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When you write your speech, how do you do it?  I’d love to know if you agree with me or if you start at the beginning?  Let me know by going to the Toastmasters 101 podcast Facebook page and answering my poll.  The link is in the show notes, or you can search Facebook for Toastmasters 101 PODCAST.  There’s a Toastmasters District 101 and they have a podcast, too!

We’ll talk again next time on Toastmasters 101.




A Professional Presentation at Toastmasters?

I’ve mentioned my friend Terry in previous episodes.  Terry owns a painting company here in Ohio.  Because of his successful business, he was asked to give a 45-minute break-out professional presentation session at an international conference about how he built his business.

If you were in his shoes, what would you have done?

Many people join Toastmasters because their jobs require public speaking and presentation skills.  But most of those professional presentations aren’t limited to 5 to 7 minutes.  How can you use Toastmasters to help you build a longer professional presentation and how can Toastmasters help you practice?

Today on the podcast, let’s chat about your professional presentation.


Do you need to develop your professional presentation skills?  Whether it’s a short impromptu answer to a question at a business meeting or a major project presentation, Toastmasters can help you craft the professional presentation you want to give.  This is Toastmasters 101 and I’m your host, Kim Krajci.

“My boss told me to join Toastmasters”

We hear this a lot.  I’d bet that at least half of the people who walk through our doors join Toastmasters for professional reasons.  Either they’re going to be speaking as a representative of their company, or speaking to other employees, a lot of people walk into a Toastmasters meeting for their job. Continue reading “A Professional Presentation at Toastmasters?”

Customize Your Toastmasters Path

How do you customize your Toastmasters experience?

“At least, they didn’t have to amputate my foot.”

That’s how my conversation with Joy, my Toastmasters protege, started yesterday.

“What?” I must have screeched into her ear.

“I think it might make a good speech at the Toastmasters meeting,” she continued.

Ya think?

Joy is a gifted copywriter and marketing specialist.  She knows how to put together a story to help a business grow.  That line “amputate my foot” is typical of her ability to capture my attention.  She was calling me about the confusion she had with the Level 1 Project 2 instructions.


Today on the podcast, we’re going to talk about making Toastmasters education program work for your goals. To customize your Toastmasters experience. I want to talk briefly about that Level 1 Project 2 confusion, and how Joy is looking at her next speech project. We’ll put that together with my report on adapting the Visionary Communications Path to storytelling.

Do you have goals in your life?  Do you want to make changes in your world and have an impact on the world around you?  Then Toastmasters is here to help you.  We teach leadership and public speaking skills that will be the tools you need to reach your goals.  This is Toastmasters 101 podcast, and I’m your host, Kim Krajci.

Customize Your Toastmasters Experience

When Joy called me yesterday, I was making dinner and thought for a second that I should just call her back later, but I picked up the call and I am glad I did.

Not just because Joy had a question about the Level 1 Project 2 confusion – although let’s start there. Continue reading “Customize Your Toastmasters Path”

Toastmasters Speech Project FAIL

If you’ve been in Toastmasters very long, you’ve probably seen the Toastmasters speech project that went wrong.  So wrong.  Cringe-worthy bad.  The speech that makes you look at the cobweb in the corner of the room and try to avoid eye-contact with the speaker.

Yeah, that speech.

Here’s a small consolation:  we’ve all done it.  So what do we do about it?

On today’s episode of Toastmasters 101, we go back to the beginning and talk about the speech that failed from the points of view of the speaker, the evaluator, and the vice president of education.


Are you looking for a way to share your message with the world – but need help to develop those public speaking skills?  Then Toastmasters is what you’re looking for.  Our proven program will help you overcome fear of public speaking and teach you how to write a compelling and interesting speech.  This is Toastmasters 101.  I’m your host, Kim Krajci.

When your Toastmasters Speech Project goes wrong, what happened?

There are several reasons a speech project goes wrong.  Continue reading “Toastmasters Speech Project FAIL”

Get Ready for Online Toastmasters Meetings

After spending time on Pathways, taking the quizzes, reading the material, I created a presentation and practiced, so I’m ready for my online Toastmasters meetings, right?

Not yet.  There are a couple of extra steps that we need to take now that we’re having online Toastmasters meetings that were easier in person.  Today on the podcast, we’ll review the steps you need to take to be ready for your next presentation at your online Toastmasters meetings.


Do you want to improve your public speaking and presentation skills?  Then Toastmasters is here for you – we’ll help you develop the skills you need in a safe and fun environment.  This is Toastmasters 101 and I’m your host, Kim Krajci.

The Value of Preparation

I have this friend, a former Toastmaster, who has this rule:  prior proper planning prevents problems.  He also believes that arriving on time is late and less is not more – intense guy.  But he is right, even if the sentiment is pretty much the exact opposite of my style.  Coasting in right on time, for me, is a personal victory.  Getting someplace early – that’s just nuts to me.

But yeah, he does have a point.  Preparation for a meeting does make it go easier for you, if not for everyone else. Continue reading “Get Ready for Online Toastmasters Meetings”

Speech Topics and Titles: Your Problem with Speeches

Today’s podcast title is Speech Topics and Titles where we’re going to talk about topics and titles for speeches.  It gets a bit meta in here sometimes.

What’s your problem?

I’m baking bread and I have a math problem.

Let’s be a bit honest here. I always have a math problem. The only thing I’m worse at than math – is algebra. Or maybe trigonometry.

I have 3 pans to bake my bread in: two of them are the same, and one is slightly smaller. How do I divide up my dough?

I did what every sane person who can’t do math does – I went on Facebook and posted the question on my feed. In 20 minutes, I had an answer – which was convenient because that’s when I needed to put the dough into the pans.

What does my baking-bread-math-problem have to do with finding  speech topics?

Let’s bite into this problem and discover we’ve got the solution in our very own hands.


Do you struggle with finding speech topics? This problem starts immediately in Toastmasters after a new member completes the ice breaker. What can we say that won’t bore other people? Continue reading “Speech Topics and Titles: Your Problem with Speeches”

Contest Speeches and Ice Breakers

Today’s episode is about contest speeches and ice breaker speeches.

According to Toastmasters International, I’ve given more than 8 Ice Breaker speeches.

According to the evaluations on my desk, I’ve given my contest speech 8 times in preparation for this week’s area contest.

I see a connection, and it’s not in how many times I’ve done the same thing.


Do you want to overcome your fear of public speaking? Do you want to discover the leader inside you? Welcome to Toastmasters, in one hour per week, we can help you do both. This is Toastmasters 101 and I’m your host, Kim Krajci. Continue reading “Contest Speeches and Ice Breakers”

How to Create a Speech in One Hour

How to Create a Speech in One Hour? Impossible?  Not at all.

I gave 3 speeches in 20 hours last week. I’d mention the clubs by name, but that’s not ideal because – they had empty slots to let me speak. That’s not a good thing. The reason I heard for a meeting that had no speaker but me? No one has time to prep a speech to give at the meeting.

So I’ll let those clubs remain anonymous for now and talk instead about the problem they face: an empty agenda of prepared speakers. Continue reading “How to Create a Speech in One Hour”

Prepare to Speak Professionally: Level 5 Elective

Maybe it’s because of who I follow on social media that I’ve gotten dozens of emails and social media ads that say “The best place to reach your customers is on the stage where they’ve come to hear you speak.” So you want to prepare to speak professionally.

That makes good sense. Instead of spamming thousands of people who will likely unsubscribe from your list, you find a place to speak and invite all the interested customers to come and hear you.

The push to become a professional, paid speaker is pretty fierce right now. Whether it’s a fad or recognition of a long-standing truth – there’s a push right now to learn how to speak professionally. And here’s Toastmasters, where it’s always been, getting our members ready to step up onto that stage. In Pathways, it’s a Level 5 elective: Prepare to Speak Professionally. Continue reading “Prepare to Speak Professionally: Level 5 Elective”

Pathways Choices: Resources to Help

It’s time to choose a pathway.  Pathways choices seem more complex this time around.

Decisions in Pathways Choices

There’s been a bit of grousing in Toastmasters land these days.  As the days of the Competent Communicator wane, I see a lot of people mourning a loss that maybe they didn’t expect.

Since I’m still working on a last CC manual, I guess I’m not ready to mourn just yet since I don’t miss it.  But as I make my pathways choices, I’m a bit nostaglic, not for the Competent Communicator, but for the simplicity of the advanced manuals.

Is choosing a pathway that difficult?

Only in my mind. Continue reading “Pathways Choices: Resources to Help”