Always End on a Bright: Making a Good Last Impression

Years ago when I was in college, I was a reporter for the university newspaper. I also took journalism classes for my minor. One lecture from my Journalism 101 professor (who was also the newspaper’s editor-in-chief) has always stayed with me.

He explained the concept of a “bright.” A bright is one last bit of happy news before the reader/viewer puts down the paper or starts a new TV show.

News anchors are pros at giving the viewers a dose of happiness right at the very end of the newscast. They could have been describing war deaths, natural disasters, or economic turmoil for 59 minutes, but the last minute of the report will be devoted to baby pandas at the zoo, a great-grandmother celebrating her 100th birthday, or some other cheerful event.

They want the very last impression you have of the station to be a happy one before you go about the rest of your day (and you’ll be more likely to watch that program again). Brights can also be found on the last page of a magazine; usually a short interview, top 10 list, or light-hearted quiz.

Now that you know what a bright is, you’ll start noticing them everywhere.

I choose not to watch the news anymore because I found the main reports to be so depressing that I usually wouldn’t make it to the end to see the bright. And when I did, the bright never completely soothed me.

There is one “news” program I do watch: CBS’s Sunday Morning. It’s a low-key presentation of ONLY brights. There are segments on movies, music, celebrity interviews, wacky roadside attractions (toaster museums?), and other feel-good topics. There’s even a “moment of nature” during the last minute (like a super bright!) that usually shows animals frolicking in their natural habitats.

Do you think about the last impression you give to people in your life? Are you giving them a bright?

Every day provides dozens of opportunities to end on a bright:

  • Give your partner, kids, and pets hugs and kisses when you leave the house. Or even when you leave the room!
  • Say “I love you” before you hang up the phone. This only works for friends and family—your landlord will just think you’re weird.
  • Shake hands again and smile at the end of an interview. Your happy face will be their last impression of you. And who wouldn’t want to hire a happy person?
  • Use the person’s name when you say goodbye to someone you just met. Saying, “It was nice meeting you, Susan!” will make your new acquaintance think you’re a nice person for remembering her name.

Not to get morbid on you, but we’ve all heard news stories about people who knew they were about to die (like in a plane crash or after being kidnapped), but they were able to make a phone call or write a note to a loved one.

Those last messages are never “avenge my death” or “my life was a waste.” They are always brights: “you made me proud,” “I wish you happiness,” “I love you.”

I want the people in my life to feel good when they remember me, even if they’ll see me again soon.

How do you end on a bright during your daily interactions?

The Editor’s Toolkit

  • Free Workshop: 3 Simple Steps to Become a Productivity Superstar
  • 25+ Printable Worksheets
  • 6 Life Editing Ebooks
  • My Favorite Books and Resources


  1. Alexandre L'Eveille on March 10, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Love that thought! I’m going to focus on that. I do it unconsciously in my blog ( but I don’t think about it in person. Great Sage, advice!

    BTW, is that a new hairdo you’re sporting in that photo?

    • Sage Grayson on March 10, 2013 at 7:18 pm

      Hi Alexandre! Thanks for stopping by. It’s actually an old photo when my hair was much shorter. I’ve been growing it out, but I might go short again someday. 🙂

  2. Cara on December 16, 2011 at 5:50 am

    I don’t watch the news either, a local crime gave me nightmares for a month so I just stopped several years ago. CBS Sunday morning is a great program though, I do love it. Your bright suggestions for everyday life are so easy and true. I use the first two all the time, but need to work more on the last one. I’m so terrible with names, but try to leave with a smile!