How much time and thought do you put into how you end your presentations?
What are the last words that you leave with your audience?
For many presenters, the last words we hear are the highly memorable:
“well that’s the end of my talk, thanks for listening”
or the even more memorable:
“I’d love to tell you more but I’ve run out of time”
Is this the last thought that you want to leave with the audience? That you cannot manage your time?
No matter how memorable the rest of your presentation, the sad fact is that the main thing (and perhaps the only thing) that the audience is going to remember about your speech or presentation is what you say in your conclusion.
Delivering a dull lifeless conclusion will leave the audience thinking of you and your message as dull and lifeless.
What’s worse than being dull and lifeless is being memorable but in bad way, three things that you should not do in your conclusion:
- Don’t end with Q&A – the danger here is that the last question that you get will be a bad one and the last impression that you give is of someone not knowing the answer. Always make sure to have your conclusion after the Q&A.
- Don’t introduce new material – this happens all too often, a presenter will start a conclusion and everyone perk up and then they say “and another thing”…
- Don’t go over time – This is the cardinal sin when talking, and what’s even worse is that once you go over time people will stop listening, they’ll start thinking about what they’re having for dinner or their hot date and so anything important that you say will be lost.