Speaker advises audience to go home and bathe

Since time out of mind speechwriters have argued about the most appropriate way to end a speech. Convention has a strong pull.

If President Obama doesn’t end the State of the Union by asking God to bless the United States of America, people will accuse him not only of being a Muslim, but for hating America. Well, they’ll do that anyway, but they’ll do it louder.

The corporate speechwriter appeals to the corporate CEO to end the speech on a powerful note instead of with a meek “thank you for listening, now I’m happy to take your questions.” The CEO agrees begrudgingly. And then, ends the speech this way:  “And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my vision for the company, the industry, the nation and the world. Thank you for listening, and I look forward to answering any more questions you may have.”

If the last lines of speeches are ceremonial—the equivalent of an “amen” at the end of a public prayer—then let’s at least infuse them with some good advice. Recently Mamata Banjeree won an election to become the chief minister of the State of Bengal, India.

She concluded her victory speech this way:

“People who have gathered here since morning, please go home, rest and take a bath.”

You know what?

That works.

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