Read This If You Want to End Your Presentations Well
Making a good first impression is important. But it’s how you finish that really counts.
There are three main ways (or a combination of them) to end a presentation:
Provide a short one- or two-line summary to help your audience remember the key points of your presentation. Basically, this is part three of the rule of three — i.e., tell them what you told them. Repetition works, because neurobiologically, the more often the same information is received, the quicker it strengthens the connections between brain nerve cells, and the easier it is to retrieve that information later on.
You could also go a step further than just repeating your message. Try finishing off with the one thing that you want your audience to walk away with today. If they forget everything else you presented today, what would that one thing be? Keep it simple. Preferably something that evokes an emotional response.
Probably one of the most common and logical ways to end a presentation is to open the floor to questions. The important thing here is how you respond to the questions thrown your way. And the key point is not to get yourself pushed into a corner.
If you get asked a difficult question that you can’t answer immediately, don’t force yourself to give a response that you know is inadequate. Rather, you could say something like: “Let me get back to you with a more complete answer.” Needless to say, you should always follow up on this. What’s useful here is to put up a slide with your contact details and simply ask the person who asked the question to drop you an email so you can respond to them later on.
Alternatively, you might consider finishing your presentation by posing a question — e.g., “Well, now you know there’s a better solution to the […] problem. What if you did something about it?” The purpose here is to leave them still thinking about your message long after your presentation. A word of caution though: don’t raise a question that you haven’t already provided the answer to … which leads us to the …
3. Call to action
Be clear about what you want your audience to do after the presentation. Use direct, active language — e.g., invest in our company, buy our product, or simply visit our website; better yet, direct them to your landing page (here’s some good advice on building landing pages that convert).
The call to action should convey urgency (do it now or else miss out on this great opportunity), be short (one to two lines), and straight to the point (no risk of being misunderstood).
In addition, motivate them to act by providing an incentive. Perhaps, offer a discount to those who respond within the next 24 hours. It all depends on the type of audience you’re presenting to. So if you understand what they want or need, it’s much easier for you to push the right buttons and offer them something enticing.
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