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The Perfect Finale: How to End a Presentation

Saying goodbye to a friend isn’t a big deal. So why does it feel so difficult to do after concluding a speech?

Talking to a crowd anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour is draining. There’s even a lot of multitasking involved, especially when delivering PowerPoint presentations. Speakers have to divide their focus and attention under time pressure. It’s no surprise that they’d want to leave as soon as they can.

But hold on to your last energy reserves before pulling a Houdini. You still have one more chance to leave a great and lasting impression.

Don’t Rush to the End

We focus so much on making a good first impression that we forget to make the last one just as memorable. The end of a presentation for you is just the beginning for the audience. You have a better grasp of the subject, but the audience still needs time to process everything. A final summary of your key points will be a friendly and helpful reminder for them.

Extend your social graces offstage by offering to answer questions in addition to giving a final summary. Time management is crucial in accomplishing this. If you have 30 minutes for a presentation, plan to run it in 20 minutes or less.

This ensures you have enough time for a quick Q&A session. Use the end of your speech to make sure that your listeners have understood your topic properly.

Reel In One Last Time

The worst that can happen to any presentation is when the audience starts leaving before you do. Either you extended your speech too long, or they simply have to go. Fight off the distraction these interruptions create. Redirect attention to yourself using tone, body language, and persuasive rhetoric.

When you go beyond the allotted time or catch yourself making a mistake, avoid apologizing to the crowd. It may be counterintuitive, but apologizing will draw even more attention to your mistake. Mentally acknowledge your mistake and move on. Dwelling on a mistake contributes nothing to the discussion and can even hurt your image.

According to Entrepreneur‘s Jason HeadsetsDotCom, when your energy goes down, you bring down the energy of the audience with you. End your speech on a lighter, positive tone. But if giving jokes isn’t your forte, don’t force it in the last minute. Return to your main point and emphasize your message to the crowd one last time.

Synchronize

We’re only as good as our last impression, so always leave a good one behind. Don’t leave without saying a word. End with an optimistic and sincere remark. Being genuine is important in making connections. The audience will be quick to notice when you’re only putting on an act. Abruptly leaving without a proper goodbye also reflects poorly on your image. Courtesy shouldn’t be limited to certain people and places. You should be able to take it with you wherever you go.

Always be prepared for the worst and don’t let any internal or external distractions rattle you. The stage is yours from start to finish so take command of it. If someone steals your thunder inadvertently or otherwise, prepare to take it back. Your presentation doesn’t end on the last slide.

 

References

Sadler, Jason. “10 Honest and Completely Helpful Tips for Hitting a Public-Speaking Homerun.” Entrepreneur. December 2, 2013. Accessed October 8, 2015. http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/230079

 

Featured Image: “Microphone” by Photo Cindy on flickr.com

Presentation Tips: How to End on the Right Note

The conclusion of your presentation is as equally important as the beginning. You need to maintain the favorable impression you created at the start until the very end. This final impression may just be the one people take home with them when they consider whether or not they’ll invest in your brand. At the same time, consistency is an admirable trait in any pitch.

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You can’t just thank your audience and be done with it. You need to make an impact and be memorable.

These are a few presentation tips to keep in mind to make sure you’re concluding on the right note:

1. Summarize and repeat your main points

Repeating your main points is the best way to ensure that your audience will remember the most important parts of your presentation. Your conclusion starts with a quick summary of your presentation with a repetition of the most important sound bites.

2. End your story

Stretch your story throughout your presentation and end it as you conclude your presentation for maximum impact. You’ll see this done all the time in TED presentations. Try to observe how TED speakers neatly tie the story together at the end of a presentation.

3. Interact with the audience

While it may not be appropriate in some settings, you can use the conclusion of your presentation to elicit audience interaction. Allow them to ask questions or share their opinions. To make it feel a bit more organic, you can orchestrate a poll that’s related to your topic at hand.

4. Pose a challenge

Lastly, it’s important to challenge to your audience through a call-to-action. Pose a challenge with a thought-provoking question that will encourage them to reflect on what you’ve shared. As demonstrated by The New York Times‘ David Pogue, if you did your job right throughout your presentation, this question will keep the backchannel discussions going long after you step down the podium.

It’s important that your presentation’s message rings true until the very end. People are swamped by hundreds of presentations in various forms every day. Make sure yours stands out with an interesting conclusion that will get them thinking long after you’ve stepped off the podium.

Want people to invest in your brand? Keep these presentation tips in mind and you’re sure to create a significant impact on your audience.

Need a winning deck to go with your pitch? Contact our SlideGenius experts today for a free quote!

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Featured Image: Benny Lin via Flickr