Presenting is storytelling, and it needs to have an engaging beginning to draw the audience in as well as a impressive closing to, well, make a lasting impression. The last moments of your story needs to be remembered or your audience will leave wondering what your presentation was really all about. You need to repeat your key points, tell the audience why the message is important and your CALL TO ACTION. What do you want them to do next.
Here are a few top tips of what NOT to do when it comes to ending your story.
Not announcing you’re coming to the end.
You will leave your audience feeling confused if you don’t provide them with some clues that your presentation is coming to a close. Tell your audience what you getting ready to finish. Here are a few ideas for you to make it as memorable as possible
“I’m going to close my presentation with … ”
“In conclusion … ”
“In summary … ”
Not offering a summary.
We may believe that as adults we have a good attention span, however you would be wrong! The average adult attention span is only five minutes, so your audience needs to be reminded of your key points again, and again, especially in the closing.” So, briefly summarize what you’ve told them. Repetition is key for allowing those messages to process and embed.
Not providing a call to action.
Think about the reason for your presentation. What is it you want your audience to do? Ultimately you want your listener to respond, and this requires you telling them what you want them to do! It may sound simple, but if you don’t have a call to action no one can respond to your message. The purpose of presenting is to persuade.
Leaving the audience with a disappointing ending.
You need to remember to say last what you want your audience to remember most. Have you ever been in the audience when all of a sudden the speaker says “Thank you,” or worse, an abrupt statement such as, “That’s all. Any questions?” Think about using an impactful statement that is succinct and brings in the most important part or idea of your message.
Concluding with a Q&A.
This may come as a surprise to you but the most common error presenters make is ending the presentation with a Q&A. It is obviously important and in some presentations, crucial that you conduct a question and answer session. It can come towards the end of the presentation, allowing plenty of time for audience discussion and concerns. Never close on it. Make sure you leave time to end your presentation with what you want to say. This ideally would include a strong summary, a compelling call to action, and powerful closing statement.
Remmber your last words will most likely be the first words your audience remembers.