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The 6 Most Powerful Ways to End A Presentation

Powerful Ways to End A Presentation by Patricia Fripp

Wondering what the most powerful ways to end a presentation are? To be truly effective, finish with a closing that is as powerful as the beginning of your presentation. The secret to awesome presentations is knowing how to start a presentation with impact and how to end it on a high.

So how can you make listeners sit up and take notice as you bring your presentation to an end?

Even the strongest speakers can undercut a whole presentation with three seconds of wobbly indecision at the end. Those few seconds amount to the last impression you leave with your audience—it’s the last picture people will remember of you. You’ve spent your whole presentation building credibility for yourself and your idea, and that last impression has everything to do with how you hold yourself.

The 6 Most Powerful Ways to End A Presentation according to Patricia Fripp

  • 1.) Ask a rhetorical question.
    Ask your audience a rhetorical question based on your premise. The question, “How do we perfect our presentation skills?” would be one way to close a presentation about presentation skills. A rhetorical question will help your audience focus in again on your central theme.
  • 2.) Review your points of wisdom.
    Review your main talking points. As you revisit each point, tie it into an example. When closing a speech on presentation skills you could remind the audience, “Build rehearsal into your everyday schedule,” then ask, “Would the treadmill work for you?”
  • 3.) Challenge your audience.
    Remind your audience of the benefits of taking your advice or why your information is relevant to their concerns.
  • 4.) Call them to action.
    Give your audience specific next steps or a call to action that will help them implement what they have learned. Invite them to make a decision and act right now.
  • 5.) Revisit your opening.
    Whenever possible, refer back to your opening. This is the circular approach and ties a bow around your message. Your conclusion needs to be as solid as your opening.
  • 6.) Let your last words linger.
    Devise one short sentence that is profound or inspiring. Be intentional about selecting the words. Your goal is to be remembered and repeated. This is not a time to add a new taking point.

I sought out my good friend, Bert Decker of Decker Communications to share some of his techniques to close your presentation well. He also believes that paying attention to your behaviors at the end of your presentation will also help you leave on a high. Remember,  it doesn’t matter whether formal at the lectern or informal standing at a meeting, will project the confidence and credibility you seek.

Even the strongest speakers can undercut a whole presentation with three seconds of wobbly indecision at the end. Those few seconds amount to the last impression you leave with your audience—it’s the last picture people will remember of you. You’ve spent your whole presentation building credibility for yourself and your idea, and that last impression has everything to do with how you hold yourself.

Watch your nonverbal behavior and body language. Not even a line like Patrick Henry’s, “Give me liberty…!” can bail you out if you act nervous, disgusted, insincere, or hurried.

Here are six essential don’ts for ending your presentation according to Bert:

1. Never blackball yourself at the end of your presentation.

…with a critical grimace, a shake of the head, eyes rolled upward, a disgusted little sigh. So what if you’re displeased with yourself? Don’t insult your audience by letting them know you were awful; they probably thought you were pretty good. One lip curl in those last three seconds can wreck 30 minutes of credibility-building. Keep a light smile on your face, and you can grimace into the bathroom mirror later if you want.

2. Don’t step backward at the end of your presentation.

If anything, take a half-step toward your listeners at the end. Stepping back is a physical retreat, and audiences subconsciously pick up on this cue. While you’re at it, don’t step back verbally, either. Softening your voice and trailing off toward the end obviously doesn’t sound confident. Maintain your strong vocal projection, enunciation, and pitch variety. You need to end with a bang, not a whimper.

3. Don’t look away at the end of your presentation.

Some speakers hark back to the last visual aid or PowerPoint slide, as if for reinforcement. Some look aside, unwilling to confront listeners dead in the eye at the last words. Murmuring “thank you” while staring off somewhere else isn’t the last impression you want to leave. Maintain good eye communication throughout.

4. Don’t leave your hands in a gestured position at the end of your presentation.

In our programs, we recommend using the resting ready position (arms gently at the sides) at the end to physically signal to your audience that you’ve finished. You must let them go visually, in addition to the closing remarks you’re making. If you keep your hands up at waist level, you look as if you have something more to say. In speaking, think of yourself as the gracious host or hostess as you drop your hands with an appreciative “thank you.”

5. Don’t rush to collect your papers at the end of your presentation.

… Or visual aids, or displays. Stop and chat with people if the meeting is breaking up, then begin to tidy up in a calm, unhurried manner. Otherwise, you may contradict your calm, confident demeanor as a presenter. Behavioral cues are picked up by your audience throughout the entire presentation experience, even during post-presentation. If you sit down and grimace or huff and puff, listeners notice that, too.

6. Don’t move on the last word at the end of your presentation.

Plant your feet and hold still for a half-beat after the you in “thank you.” Think about adding some lightness and a smile with your thank-you to show your comfort and ease. You don’t want to look eager to get out of there. If anything, you want to let people know you’ve enjoyed being with them and are sorry you have to go. Don’t rush off.

Remember,  it doesn’t matter whether formal at the lectern or informal standing at a meeting, will project the confidence and credibility you seek.

Your last words matter and they MUST support your message and maximize your impact. 

Never end by announcing, “We’re out of time,” even if you are. Never end by thanking the audience for being there. Never assume you can “just wing it.” Plan, script, and rehearse exactly how you will close your presentation. I help professionals who speak in the boardroom, conference hall or in meetings with my online training and when you need them you will earn your continuing education credits.

 

By,

Patricia Fripp

 

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Patricia Fripp at XTRAcredits | Continuing Education Credits More About Patricia Fripp

Hall of Fame keynote speaker, executive speech coach, sales presentation skills expert, and author, Patricia Fripp simplifies and demystifies the process of preparing and presenting powerful, persuasive presentations. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance identified her presentation training as one of the best investments you can make in your career. Called “one of the 10 most electrifying speakers in North America” by Meetings and Conventions, Patricia delivers high-content, entertaining, dramatically memorable presentations. The first female president of the National Speakers Association, she is now virtually everywhere. Patricia is a Faculty Expert at XTRAcredits as a subject matter expert. Learn essential new skills and accelerate your career while maintaining your professional accreditation.