End Strong

Last month’s piece on presentation intros generated some gratifying positive buzz and requests for more. So, let’s go to the end of the message and ‘tell ‘em what we said.’ Audience-Centric presentations should end, not just stop. And they should End Strong. Your intro is critically important, but so is your summary or conclusion. You can also ‘Get Them at Goodbye!’

While the audience may be influenced most by what they hear first, they usually remember most what they hear last. So, a powerful ending can ‘close the sale’. You can quickly restate your Main Point in terms of audience-centric value, remind them of the Sub-Points you shared to ‘prove’ your Main Point and let them know what’s next. Just as with your Introduction, that’s a lot of important work to do in a very short time, so every word must count here, too. What follows are 10 Best Practices for your Power Ending:

    1. With a basic Informative Presentation, you summarize the information you shared and tell the audience what to do with it. Let them know about their Action Plan if you included that piece in your message. Also remind them of the value of the information – the ‘WII-FM’ message
    2. With a Persuasive Presentation, you end with a succinct Conclusion of how you ‘’proved’ your Main Point. Also indicate what they should do next – approve your proposal, hire your firm, all pledge to the United Way campaign or leave motivated to meet their new sales goals.
    3. In both cases, your Summary or Conclusion should be less than 10% of your total presentation length. So, a 30-minute presentation should have a strong ending of less than 3.0 minutes.
    4. Don’t introduce new facts or information in your Summary or Conclusion. Those belong in the Body of your presentation.\If you decided to hold questions until the end of your presentation, invite them at the end of your Body, not at the end of your Summary.
    5. Restate your Main Point at the beginning of your ending, indicating something like … ‘We’ve been discussing the importance of (Main Point) … Remember that ‘We’ve been discussing … ‘sounds better than ‘’I’ve been telling you about … ‘, even if you’ve done all the talking.
    6. Also review your Sub Points. If you phrased them as questions in your Intro and Body, restate them now as declarative sentences or phrases. They aren’t questions anymore because you effectively answered them in the Body of your presentation.
    7. Remind them if you have a hard copy or electronic handout for them now and what to do with it.
    8. Consider reconnecting with your opening ‘hook’. Restate, paraphrase or continue with the idea from your opening quote, statistic, rhetorical question or thought-provoking statement.
    9. Pause after your last words … thank them for their enthusiastic participation if you want … enjoy their thunderous applause … and sit down with smile on your face, confident that you’ve won the day.

As you’ve seen, your Power Ending has a lot of important work to do in a very short time, whether you’re summarizing an informative presentation or concluding a persuasive one. So, End Strong and send them out of the room singing the praises of the message … and the messenger.