I’m polishing up 2 presentations to give this week and I totally understand why most talks end with a whimper instead of a bang. Unfortunately, a falter at the end causes people to remember you….well, not so much. Here’s the deal. The last thing you say is the filter through which your audience remembers (or not) your entire presentation.
What happens in preparing your talk is that by the time you get the bulk of it ready, you’re a bit tired of the whole thing and you’ve got many other things to do! Take a break and then spend some time on your ending. Better yet, work on your introduction and ending before you outline your main points.
What people remember best are the first part and the last part of your talk. It’s the middle that gets rather blurry. Your introduction sets the tone and people decide how much they want to listen to you.Your ending strongly shapes how people remember you.
Invest some time to develop an energetic ending to your talk.
- a quotation
- a question
- call to action (indispensable for sales)
- a story
- a surprising fact or statistic
- a challenge
End with something that has personal meaning for you.
You really catch people’s attention when you annouce you’re about to conclude the talk. They now know it’s about to end so they’re encouraged to listen more closely.
(Hopefully you’re leaving them hungry for more.)
After telling the audience this fabulous talk is about to be over. SHUT UP. That’s right. Pause for a few seconds. A pause adds drama. Then they’ll be sitting on the edges of their seats. After you pause, you can thank them for listening.
(Do not thank them at the beginning, they haven’t done anything yet!)
And here’s a really powerful secret. No matter what you’re afraid of, no matter how you feel, act like this is the most fabulous and fascinating talk you have ever given.
If you act confident, your audience will assume you rocked, even if they’re not sure why.
Got any tips for ending a talk with a bang? Please share them in a comment below.