You have been standing for some time now, looking out at your audience. You started with a captivating lead, you’ve woven interesting stories around your main themes and key points. Now, you’re about to come to the end. Time to relax and exhale, right? Not yet!
The closing is the most important part of your presentation.
I love the end of day. Our little Tuscan town of Arezzo is so thought-provoking at twilight.
As Lulu stands in the middle of the Piazza della Liberta with the town hall’s clock tower and billowing contemporary art above her, I think about what happened during our day, and look forward to what may be store for us tomorrow.
And that’s how you, the busy business professional, can shape your presentation’s closing. Review your key points in a thoughtful way and inspire your audience about what’s next. My friend and colleague Aileen Pincus says, “Leave something on the table.”
- Summarize your key points in an engaging way. Use another couple of short stories if you can to wrap your keys in a nice “to go” package.
- Call back your introduction. There’s a nice symmetry if you tie your closing remarks to those of your opening. Referring back to your opening imagery or story, helps your audience remember your presentation as a whole. Consider an “epilogue” approach.
- Don’t trail off or rush. Practice your complete presentation several times, so you don’t run out of time and suddenly rush through your last points or slides. Never ever end by saying something like, “Well, that’s all I have….” No, No!
- Give your audience an inspiring Call to Action. Did you persuade them of something? Do they need to try something new? Approve your proposal? What is their follow-up? Encourage your audience to take the next steps.
I often advise my clients to memorize their final couple of statements. As in gymnastics, you really need to “stick” your landing.
People will remember your close the most because it will be the last words they’ll hear. Tell them what they can do next. Leave them looking forward to tomorrow.
if you’d like more tips and help on creating a masterful closing for your next presentation, let me know!