Finish Your Presentation with a Strong Close

Finish with a strong close

How many times have you been so relieved to finish your presentation that you rush through the end, muttering something along the lines of, “And that’s all folks – feel free to email me questions” – before collecting your things and jetting off?

We have to be deliberate not to stumble toward the end.

Think of how the top runners in the Boston Marathon find their pace. Though they quicken at times, the best of the best don’t lose gusto at the end. You, too, must keep your energy strong all the way through the close.

So often, we put most of our prep and thought into the beginning of our presentations and the content that will immediately follow, but then once we reach the end – it’s becomes a mad dash to get it over with. Don’t make that mistake! It would be like training for the swim and bike parts of a triathlon, but not the run.

Your listeners have the highest attention levels at the beginning and also at the end of presentations – which means those last few minutes are essential!

To maximize the impact of those last few precious moments of your presentation, heed these six tips:

  1. Go back to your key message. Restate your point of view, the specific action you want your listener to take, and the benefit to the listener.
  1. Make it memorable with a SHARP. Tell a story that will linger in your listener’s mind long after your presentation has ended, or share a simple quote that captures the feeling behind the action you want your listener to take.
  1. Step forward – physically and verbally. Often times, we’re inclined to physically step backwards at the end of a presentation. Verbally, we may step back by softening our tone and saying something like, “I really hope you enjoyed…” Stand firm and stand forward until the very end.
  1. Hold eye communication. Don’t take a sideways glance at your visual or look down at the floor. Keep your focus on your listeners to keep them engaged.
  1. Maintain a calm and collected composure. Stick around and chat with your listeners. Don’t unhook your computer from the projector and rush out – this shows a lack of confidence and desire to get the heck out of there. Stay calm!
  1. Even if you feel like you bombed, don’t show it! I know there’s a temptation to grimace, sigh, or even roll your eyes when you feel disappointed in yourself. But, please, even if you’re feeling bummed, there’s no need to let everyone else know, too! This completely diminishes your credibility. Keep that lightness on your face until the very end.

book_banner_blog

Stand Up and Stand Out

“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” Do Jerry Seinfeld’s words strike … Continue reading

Falling on Deaf Ears

We’ve all been there. Eyes glaze over, attention is diverted to the closest device…it’s that moment when you realize everyone in your meeting has tuned out. Your message is falling on deaf ears. We’re thankful that Chip and Dan Heath wrote the foreword for our new book, and in it, … Continue reading

Webcam It Up

Oh, the wonderful, and tricky, world of web conferencing. It seems like more and more of our work is being done virtually, creating a whole new potential for the meaning of “business casual.” We’ve gotten questions time and again about communicating yourself over a webcam. To answer that call, here … Continue reading

What Does Your Face Say about Your Leadership?

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” We’ve all heard that. But what about the face you present to your colleagues or a potential group of investors? It matters, too. Leadership is not just how we communicate ourselves verbally, but visually. As a leader, your facial expressions can set, or … Continue reading

Lead Better: Through Transparency

In a culture where lies overshadow the major bright spots in business, politics and life, we are clamoring for trust. And what is one tool we can use to engender trust? Transparency. Transparency is intentional openness, accountability and accessible communication. Rather than taking a CYA, protect-and-defend approach, transparent leaders share … Continue reading

Kickoff Roundup

Sales kickoffs, team kickoffs, all-hands meetings… the biggest internal-facing appearances and meetings are major opportunities to train up your team, get everyone on the same page and set the vision for the year. And tons of them happen in January. So, it’s finally – in February – time for all … Continue reading

The Top Ten Best (and Worst) Communicators of 2014

There is no such thing as private speaking, and Decker Communications’ 19th Annual Top Ten Best and Worst Communicators list proves it. These famous examples from business, politics, sports and pop culture have left indelible impressions this year – both for better and for worse. Top 10 Best Communicators Breaking … Continue reading

Cut the Jargon

Back when I was working in the Sales Consulting world, I started saying, “There exists a contradiction in,” instead of, “There is” – because I heard someone else say it. A classic foible of those fresh out of business school. Perhaps that’s why we got a laugh out of this … Continue reading

How to Avoid Brain Freeze When Speaking

It’s happened to all of us at least once. You’re prepared, and you’re nervous. And all of a sudden, your mind goes blank. Brain Freeze. We recently got a question from a participant that we wanted to answer to a wider forum. Q:  I’m wondering if Decker has any official … Continue reading