In movies, beginnings are spent introducing the lead character. During this time, viewers get to connect with the story as it starts to unfold.
In the same way, the beginning of a presentation allows the audience to make an initial connection. A powerful beginning can hook an audience, urging them to ask more questions about the topic at hand.
Despite this, beginnings can’t fully account for the outcome of your presentation. There’s more to a successful outcome than an eye-catching title slide and a humorous icebreaker. Presentations also need to end on a distinct and powerful note. You can’t just thank the audience and be done with it. Your conclusion should ring true long after the audience leaves the venue.
In other words, endings should create as much impact as beginnings do. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when concluding presentations:
Reiterate your main points
After a lengthy discussion, offer a refresher by reviewing the most important points of your discussion. Repeat all your main points using short and quick sentences. Don’t try to explain everything again. Just echo all the sound bites you’ve been repeating throughout your presentation. For full effect, you can make a list and display it on a slide.
Resolve the story
We’ve made a strong case for storytelling in the past. Stories can improve your presentations by allowing your audience to connect with the message you’re delivering.
Following your narrative structure, close your presentation by discussing the resolution of your story. Show the audience how the conflict you introduced is eventually worked out and put to rest.
Challenge the audience
It’s important to pose a challenge to your audience. Leave them with a thought-provoking question that will encourage them to reflect on what you’ve shared. If you do it right, your challenging questions will help keep discussions about your presentation alive.
Offer a concrete Call to Action statement
Similarly, you can also end with a Call to Action statement. Give your audience a concrete plan to consider and execute. While the previous method might work for seminars and lectures, a Call to Action statement leaves no room for doubt. If you’re pitching to investors or proposing a new project to executives, you want to make sure that your message is received loud and clear. A Call to Action statement will definitely help with that.
Much like beginnings, endings hold a lot of weight. For presentations, a strong conclusion will ensure that your message sticks with the audience. Keep these tips in mind when concluding presentations and get your intended outcome.
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Featured Image: Andrew Hurley via Flickr