End Strong:
a guide

  1. Summary
  2. What does it mean to end strong?
  3. What are the benefits of ending strong?
  4. What are strategies to end strong?
  5. Common questions
  6. Conclusion
  7. Additional Resources

Summary

Ending strong means ending your speaking with confident energy. Most beginner speakers tend to do the opposite, abruptly ending their speaking with low energy and a whimper. This bad habit can ruin an excellent speech – your audience tends to remember your ending more than any other part of your speech. 

Ending strong is a habit you can easily build. In fact, you can practice it every time you speak. Take it from us – it’s rare to find a speaking technique that’s so universal and so easy to adopt. 

The most important thing to keep in mind is that ending strong doesn’t mean you have to make a grand, meaningful, genius conclusion. You only need to say your last words with confidence and stick the landing all the way to completion.

Background

There was an experiment where freestyle rappers were put into an MRI machine and asked to improvise a song. Scientists observed that right at the end of their improvised performance, the rappers’ prefrontal cortex began to light up with activity. The thinking brain came online.

For the duration of their improvised rap, these individuals were in a flow state – but suddenly at the very end, their inner critic woke up and begin the awful experience of self-sabotage and harsh criticism. 

The same experience happens in speaking. It’s a common occurrence to begin placing heavy expectations on yourself to finish strong, which often leads to self-doubt and diminishing confidence in your entire speech. This sudden inner chaos often wreaks havoc on a speaker, potentially ruining an excellent speech altogether.

Every speaker has experienced this in some way or another. It’s a natural conclusion of the body and mind when you begin to reach the end of your speech. But to your audience, this sudden chaos is invisible. By choosing to end strong, you ensure the audience perceives you as a strong, confident speaker all the way through.

What are examples of ending strong in speaking?

  • You make a contribution to a brainstorming session, and instead of ending with “But, I don’t know, this is probably nothing,” you give your contribution with confident energy. In this way, your idea will be taken seriously instead of judged immediately.

  • Your friends peer pressure you into giving a toast at dinner. You improvise something, and instead of ending with “So… I guess… That’s it?” you end with extra confident energy to compensate for how you feel at that moment. Because of that, people admire what you said and feel good about it.

What are the benefits of ending strong?

Studies show that people tend to remember the end of experiences more than the beginning. In speaking, this concept means it matters more what you do in the final seconds than any other section –  precisely the stage where most people struggle the most. If you pick up the tiny habit to intentionally end strong, you’ll quickly see massive shifts in how your speaking is perceived – and significant boosts in your confidence and authority.

Ending strong is the easiest habit you can integrate in your speaking to be perceived as more confident. At Ultraspeaking, what we see over and over again is that when other people see you as more confident, you start to believe that, too.

Another benefit to ending strong is that you give your audience a lens of judgment at the end of what you say. If you habitually end with self-doubt, your audience will consistently interpret what you say through that lens, no matter what you say. If you make it a habit to always end strong and present what you say in the best possible way, people can judge the message on its actual content, not a whimper of an ending. 

What are strategies to end strong?

1. The finish line goes beyond speaking

The average person tends to think the finish line is right at the moment you stop speaking. However, the true ending to speaking is actually a few seconds after you finish your last sentence.

Picture a gymnast that finishes a difficult routine and sticks the landing. The performance is not over. The gymnast continues to hold the pose, breathe, and smile at the judges. The same is true for speaking.

Just because you said your final word doesn’t mean the job is finished. Your listeners need a few seconds to absorb what you said. It’s still registering in their brain. In these precious seconds, you want to avoid dropping eye contact, slouching your shoulders, and adopting a nervous glance. Instead, remain calm and poised. Take a big, deep breath.

2. Land the plane on your terms

If speaking is like flying an airplane, you’re the pilot. If you notice that you’re going in for that last sentence and the words start to get jumbled, pull the plane back up. Say another sentence and then try for the landing again. Always land the plane on your terms.

This doesn’t mean you need to say something brilliant or meaningful on the spot. It just means that you end strong, with confidence. 

3. Ending strong is a habit just like anything else

The reason most people don’t end strong is simply that they’ve built a habit of ending weak. It’s natural to let that inner critic dictate your ending, filling you with doubt and dread. But if you sit through that temptation just a couple of times, the pull to panic gets weaker and weaker.

Approach ending strong like any other habit. Practice it in your daily conversations. The more you focus on it, the sooner it will become a part of your natural way of being.

Common questions

What if what I said actually didn’t make sense?


First of all, ending strong doesn’t mean you can say the following after every speech: “This is all true and you should believe me.” Ending strong simply means you never unintentionally signal to your audience that you’re scared, nervous, and unsure. 

Ending strong just means ending with confidence. Think about it like putting on a crisp new shirt vs. a torn, ragged tank top: the shirt doesn’t change you, it doesn’t change what you say, yet people perceive you as more confident and professional. You’ll feel that way, too. 

Conclusion

There’s really no excuse not to end strong. The only reason you don’t end strong is habit. That’s natural – the inner critic gets noise at the end and often it feels too uncomfortable to hold that noise inside. We want to break the tension we feel by leaking it externally. But that only makes things worse.

Ending strong is a habit that you can build easily. In fact, you can do it every time you speak. It’s rare to have a technique that’s so universal. However, you’ll notice that whether it’s with your partner, or with your kids, or in class, or at work, or wherever – every time you speak, as soon as it’s done, you just end strong. It’s an easy habit to adopt, and it has the biggest impact on the lasting impression you make.

There’s no excuse! End strong. 

April 15, 2022

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