as originally answered on Quora.com
Something that I thought would be helpful for future readers of this question would be a quick definition of what an extempore speech actually is. Basically, it is a speech given on short notice i.e. without time to prepare. It is conversational in nature, meaning you are having a conversation with your audience.
One problem is that many speakers don’t realize that even though it is conversational, it shouldn’t be casual. You still need to be professional in your presentation skills. An example to support this is the scenario where a speaker has had advance warning of a speaking opportunity and instead of preparing for the task they say “I’ll just wing it!” The lack of preparation on the speaker’s part is usually quite evident.
Some people recommend using the technique of “Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them.” This can be a good utilitarian tool to have in your speaker’s toolbox, however it doesn’t leave you with a memorable ending. It may also work against you … “why does this speaker keep repeating themselves?”
An ending that I have used as an absolute ending, is “Thank you for allowing me to speak to you today. I’m open for further discussion at the end of this meeting if anyone is interested …
Deb Volberg Pagnotta offers 10 ways to NEVER end a speech. I would add some reasons that you don’t want to end your speeches in this manner.
Firstly, any of the responses she provides, takes away from your credibility to speak on the subject in the first place. A trite conclusion minimizes what you have said up to this point. A strong conclusion reinforces what you have said. Secondly, it puts you into a submissive position. Audiences want to see strong, dynamic, positive speakers. Concluding with something trite takes away from your personal power. You want to leave your audience with something to think about.
If you have been called to speak with very short notice, hopefully on a subject that you actually know something about, you need to quickly think of an opening and a conclusion. As you deliver your presentation you have to keep your conclusion in mind. It can be helpful in planning to have your conclusion tie in to your opening.
Another element that I would add to having a powerful, memorable conclusion, is to know from the beginning how long you are required to speak. You need to know when you are supposed to be concluding. If you use the style from storytelling, your speech should be building in excitement, leading to a climax, then a conclusion.
A mistake that many speakers make is that they provide the speech climax, you think its over, but they keep on going with another story. This can be confusing to the audience. So when your conclusion finally comes, it can be anticlimactic. You leave with less power than you could have and it can have the undesirable effect of taking away from everything that you have said up to this point.
Leave them wanting more! Who knows, it could lead to a paid speaking engagement.
For further discussion on public speaking, speech development, communication skills and Toastmasters, visit the Live For Excellence Book Store for the following publications:
Blow Your Own Horn!: Personal Branding for Business Professionals
Power Networking For Shy People: How to Network Like a Pro
The Power of Persuasion: Mastering the Art of Influence
The Power of Promotion: Online Marketing For Toastmasters Club Growth
The Savvy Emcee: How to be a Dynamic Master of Ceremonies
Working With Words: Adding Life to Your Oral Presentations
Rae A. Stonehouse is an author, speaker, and self-publishing consultant dedicated to helping others embrace constant improvement and overcome challenges. With over 40 years of experience as a Registered Nurse in psychiatry and mental health, Rae brings a wealth of knowledge and passion for self-development to his writing and presentations.
As a 25+ year member of Toastmasters International, Rae has systematically built his communication abilities and self-confidence to share his insights as an author and speaker. His self-help books and personal development presentations aim to have conversational one-on-one connections with readers and audiences.
Rae is known for his wry sense of humor and sage advice delivered in a relatable coaching style. After four decades as a nurse, Rae has rewired rather than retired, actively writing and pursuing public speaking. He strives to share lessons learned to help others achieve personal and professional growth.