Close a Presentation Effectively
You may think your presentations are incredibly well put together; you invest a lot of time into practicing your delivery and you are careful to use body language that sends a positive message to your audience. You know your stuff. You speak confidently. You hook your listeners with an opening that they can’t resist.
Collectively, these are terrific presentations skills and they are critical to your overall presentation. Do they also culminate with an equally formidable conclusion that leaves your listeners ready to spring into action?
Here’s what you need to know about delivering a memorable business presentation: How you end your presentation is what the audience will remember the most. The next most memorable piece? Your opening. That’s not to say everything in between doesn’t matter—after all, it’s the meat of your presentation—but your opening and your closing need to be spot-on. If the final three minutes of your presentation does not leave a lasting impression on your listeners, it’s doubtful they’ll be inclined to do anything with the information you’ve given them after the presentation wraps up.
End a Business Presentation Like a Pro
Just like programming a GPS, it’s easier and more effective to plan your route when you know where you want to end up. Use the same principle when you sit down to work on your presentation: Create the ending first so you can map out the shortest, simplest, and most effective route to get there. The Number 1 mistake people make in their business presentations is failing to get to the end fast enough. There isn’t a prize for the presenter who talks the longest. Say what you need to say and then stop. Believe me, your audience will appreciate your ability to deliver a timely message.
Here are other mistakes you might not even realize you’re making at the end of your business presentations:
You don’t tie up loose ends. We tell our workshop participants that one of the best ways to start a presentation is with a story. If you open with a story, you need to make sure it has a conclusion, which is usually placed in your closing. Think of it this way: When you watch a movie or read a book, you expect a sense of closure at the end, even if it’s a bad outcome. Don’t leave your audience hanging; if you open with a story, let them know how the story ends.
You don’t emphasize your main point with repetition. Repetition is the key to learning; it’s the reason you practice your presentation over and over before delivering it. Repeat your main point in your closing so that your audience will think about it one more time. Remember, the last few minutes of your presentation are what people will remember the most.
There’s no call to action. If you don’t tell your audience what to do with the information you’ve given them, there’s a pretty good chance they’ll do nothing, and your presentation goes to waste. Challenge your listeners to do something after your presentation, even if it’s just to look at the world in a different way. Business presentations don’t have to be dry and boring. Figure out a way to motivate your listeners to do something when it’s over.
The Message Lasts Beyond Your Final Words
Are you guilty of making any of these mistakes? Knowing how to close a presentation effectively is one of the most important skills to have in your public speaking arsenal if you want audiences to remember you after the mic is turned off.