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

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

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

Where It All Begins: Your Listeners

-+*You can’t pass go, you can’t collect $200 (let alone $20,000 or $200,000 for your next initiative) if you haven’t gone through the first step: That’s right. Rephrase your agenda to meet theirs, instead. Since our goal is to influence others and to persuade them to take action, we can’t … Continue reading

Influence with a Point of View

-+*What’s your point of view? It’s not a “nice to have,” it’s a “need to have” – and let me tell you why: It’s hard to argue with getting better results. But don’t just take my word for it. Recently, a self-proclaimed “Decker Super-Fan” (for reference – she’s taken Communicate … Continue reading

Green Means Go

-+*Do you remember the movie Gone in 60 Seconds? Even if you remember it as a bad movie, it’s a good reminder about how quickly we can lose our audience. The first 30-60 seconds of our presentations, speeches or reports are always the hardest part. Physiologically, it’s when our hearts … Continue reading

Nelson Mandela: Consummate Communicator

-+*“Let there be peace for all. Let there be justice for all. The sun shall never set on such a glorious human achievement.” – Nelson Mandela We join the rest of the world to celebrate the incredible impact and legendary life of Nelson Mandela. While much can be said about … Continue reading

The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back

-+*I’ve heard over 100 presentations on philanthropy and giving. I spend a lot of time recording people speaking on video. Luckily, many of us are motivated to give back, and we want to urge others to do the same. This is not a complaint – instead, there is a great … Continue reading

The Deal is in the Details

-+*In case you hadn’t noticed, the concept of story is pretty hot right now. Basically every industry endorses it as its #1 bit of advice, with entire companies popping up to “help tell your story.” There are two avenues of storytelling. First, there is the simple method of telling what … Continue reading