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.

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Six Don’ts for the End of Your Presentations

Seth Godin had a nice post today on “Sorry, we’re out of time.” But there’s more to it than that: Even strong speakers can undercut a whole presentation with multiple endings, or a few seconds of wobbly indecision at the end. Those last few seconds  amount to the last important … Continue reading