In my earlier years of presenting and training, the weakest link was my ending. Hyper-conscious of time, I would rush my ending with an uninspired “OK, that’s it… thanks!” I’m exaggerating here – but not by much.
Fast forward to today and I put much more thought into how I want to close my presentations. Why? Because I want my audience to leave inspired. I want my audience to be motivated to take the action I’ve outlined in my presentation.
Here are two common challenges we run into, and their impact:
- Towards the end of our presentations – we open it up to Q & A. This is a vital part of the presentation AND it’s where we lose a little of the flow and energy. Impact: our presentation fades out and lacks motivation.
- Our thirty-minute presentation is coming to an end and the only thing between our audience and (lunch, happy hour, end of the day – fill in the blank) is the end of our presentation. So, we rush the ending. Impact: we lose influence and our audience leaves uninspired.
There’s hope! Here are two easy solutions I share in my Presentation Transformation Program.
First, use transition statements to bring focus to the end of your presentation.
You’ve delivered most of your presentation and given your audience a chance to ask questions and make comments. Now it’s time to wrap up. Use transition statements to bring your presentation back to a close that you can control.
“Thanks for your question, Brenda, which brings us to our next steps”.
“Mike, you make a great suggestion that can increase the quality of this project. So, as we wrap up, I’d like to remind everyone how important it is that we have your support for additional resources.”
Second, use two key ingredients to close your presentation and inspire your audience.
- A VISION of what could be (growth, progress, a glimpse of what life will be when they take your call to action)
- And a final CALL TO ACTION (next steps)
Regardless of the type of presentation you are delivering: project overview, client proposal,quarterly update– always end on a high note. Paint an inspiring vision for your audience of what the future will look like with your project, idea, partnership.
If your presentation is a client proposal:
VISION: We’re committed to helping your business meet its marketing goals. We’ll be with you every step as you grow into this new market.
NEXT STEPS:Let’s meet again next month so we can explore a plan of what that looks like.
If your presentation is a project update and request for additional resources:
VISION:Our 2019 corporate mission is to lead the industry in customer service scores. This new software we are integrating will cut our customer response time in half- which resolves our #1 customer complaint.
NEXT STEPS: With your approval for additional resources, we can get this project quickly back on track and support our 2019 mission.
Remind your audience how they benefit (the vision), then clarify exactly what you want them to do (call to action). With these 2 ingredients you can change your presentation ending from flat to memorable. From fizzle to spark.
So – Don’t fizzle or fade out!
Plan an ending that will spark and motivate your audience.
One last suggestion for the very end of the end. I like to use a relevant quote or a thought-provoking image at the very end of my presentation. So, on that note… in the words of Robin Sharma:
“Starting strong is good. Finishing strong is epic”
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