Thank You or
No Thank You?
To Thank or Not to Thank?
Should you thank the audience at the end of your speech?
Most speakers do.
However, both Toastmasters and the Association of Speakers Clubs advise against it.
They argue that it is a weak finish to a speech. That the audience should be thanking the speaker.
At Bromsgrove Speakers Club we, also, have advised against closing with ‘thank you’.
But is it the right guidance for speakers?
In this article we’ll look at the pros and cons of thanking the audience and consider whether there can be a one size fits all approach.
The training company Virtual Speech suggests:
“The simplest way to end a speech, after you’ve finished delivering the content, is to say ‘thank you’. That has the benefit of being understood by everyone.
It’s the great way for anyone to signal to the audience that it’s time to applaud and then head home.”
On the other hand, author and speech coach, George Torok, says:
“There’s nothing wrong about saying “thank you” to your audience. But don’t end on those words because ‘thank you’ is a weak close.”
They can’t both be right can they?
Two Types of Presentation
Could the answer to the Thank You question depend on the type of speech or presentation? Let’s take a look.
What is the purpose of your speech?
In simple terms, are you giving or taking?
If your objective is to inform, educate or entertain, you are a ‘giver’.
If you are selling, persuading, recruiting etc, you are a ‘taker’.
Of course, in many cases that is an over-simplification; there are nuances. However, by deciding which category your presentation best fits, it will help you decide what approach to take with regard to thanking, or not, your audience.
Don’t Say Thank You
Imagine you’ve just dropped by to give someone a present and are now about to leave.
You might shake their hand, kiss them or give them a little wave, depending on circumstances and your relationship with them.
Hopefully they will thank you. But you wouldn’t thank them, would you?
Now think about your upcoming presentation. You put hours into planning and preparing for it.
You are giving your audience lots of useful or interesting information – informing the
Perhaps you are training the audience so they will benefit in the future. Or you may be entertaining them, maybe informing them along the way.
Whatever your exact purpose, you are giving to your audience, aren’t you?
Therefore, you don’t need to thank them. They should be thanking you with their applause.
Say Thank You
You are delivering a sales presentation trying to persuade someone to buy something from your business.
Hopefully, the product or service you are selling is going to be helpful for them. Nevertheless, you should be grateful for the opportunity to present to them.
Likewise if you are trying to encourage people to donate to the charity you represent or, indeed, become a volunteer like you, you’ll want to thank them for their interest, won’t you.
If you are recruiting staff, ultimately you will be a giver (of employment). However, if a group of students, with the skills you require, have listened attentively to what you have to say, it might be appropriate to thank them for their interest.
How to Say Thank You
When you deliver a speech or presentation, it’s important to structure your words for maximum impact.
Whether it’s appropriate to say thank you or not, saying it to signal the end of your speech is weak. Don’t do it!
“I’d like to thank you for listening to my presentation. As a reminder, the key benefits if you … (buy, subscribe, sign-up etc) … are … (A, B, C).”
You then need a strong closing sentence to signal you have finished speaking.
An alternative approach could be:
“Thank you for listening to my presentation. I hope you can now see that if you … (buy, subscribe, sign-up etc) … you will … (A, B, and most importantly, C).”
It’s always a good idea to rank ideas, results, benefits etc in rising order of importance.
In the above sentence, after mentioning benefit ‘A’, raise your voice slightly for ‘B’. And then up the volume again for ‘C’ – “and most importantly, you could double your profit!”
‘Profit’ (or whatever word you select) needs to be said powerfully with clear enunciation and full breath pressure.
Perhaps a slight forwards nod of the head could emphasise ‘profit’ and underline that you have finished.
And then stand up straight, smile and look around the room before sitting down.
Thank You or No Thank You?
You could leave on a resounding, thought provoking insight that echoes around people’s heads
… or you could just say thank you.
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