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The Bookends of a Speech Are . . .

The Opening and Closing.

The Law of Primacy and Recency says the audience best remembers the first and last things you, the speaker, say and do. This is crucial for the goal of having those attending your presentation GET IT!

GETTING IT! is the goal of all communication; verbal, written, or visual. The audience may not agree with everything you present. They may not agree with anything. However, if they don’t GET IT! there cannot be a meaningful conversation going forward.

Have a Strong Opening and a STRONGER Closing!

The OPENING has two parts.

  1. Grab the attention of the audience and make them want to hear more. They are investing time, sometimes money, and opportunity cost; they could be doing something else.

  2. “Tell them what you’ll be telling them.” Give them your agenda, a road map of your talk, including when and how you’ll be handling questions.

Ideas for Opening:

  1. Famous Quote. The quote, and person quoted, should be relevant to your presentation.

  2. Today in History. The historical event should be factual and relevant to your subject matter.

  3. In this Morning’s Paper or as Reported in Other Media. A current event, if appropriate, can be part of the opening to your speech.

Before closing, tell the audience you are about to close your speech.

It’s okay if your closing contains a surprise – but not if your closing is the surprise!

Here’s an analogy. You’re on a trip and have been leisurely driving down the road for a while. There’s a large, wide bend in the road and as you drive it and the road starts to straighten out, suddenly, and with no signs to warn you, there’s a dead end!

Don’t do that to your audience. Give them that ‘sign’ you’re about to close your presentation.

Some ways to tell them you’re about to conclude your talk: •  “It’s time to bring this presentation to a close.” •  “Let me close my talk by . . .” •  “My watch says it’s time to close. So. . .”

The Last thing the speaker says and does will be the First thing they’ll remember!

The CLOSING has two parts.

1.  Summarize the highlights of your talk. “Tell them what you told them.” 2.  Give a Strong Closing! The Closing should be something you want them to remember. (Think of courtroom summations and closing statements by political candidates.)

Ideas for Closing:

  1. A Call to Action. “Today, as soon as you get back to your office, start writing your Introduction!“

  2. A Challenge. “We’ll be meeting again one week from today. I challenge each of you to . . .

  3. A Motivational Quote. Remember as you leave the auditorium, “The worst speech you’ll ever give, will be far better than the one you never give!

Follow this advice about having great Bookends, a Strong Opening and a Stronger Closing, and I guarantee: Your next presentation will be absolutely, positively – NO SWEAT!


Three ways to keep the attention of your audience.

About the Author Fred E. Miller is a speaker, an international coach, and the author of the books, “NO SWEAT Public Speaking!” and “NO SWEAT Elevator Speech!”

Businesses, Individuals, and Organizations hire him because they want to improve their Networking, Public Speaking, and Presentation Skills.

They do this because they know: Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.

They also know: We perceive really great speakers to be Experts. We like to work with Experts.

He shows them how to: Develop, Practice, and Deliver Fantastic Presentations! with – NO SWEAT!



  1. Lessening The Fear of Public Speaking with – NO SWEAT!

  2. Crafting Your Elevator Speech, Floor by Floor with – NO SWEAT!

  3. Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.

  4. We are All Self-Employed!

Subscribe to my YouTube ChannelPodcast Channel, and connect with me on LinkedIn and Facebook.

My books can be purchased on NO SWEAT Public Speaking” NO SWEAT Elevator Speech!”

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