How To Close A Presentation
Why The Ending Is The Most Important Part
The goal of your presentation is to have the audience members remember the message and act on it.
In order to effectively achieve this outcome, you must structure your presentation accordingly. You will need a strong introduction to set the scene, proof points throughout your presentation to support your argument and a conclusion to tie everything together.
Without a proper closing, your presentation will feel incomplete and leave the audience with more questions than answers. As the introduction is to the foundation of a home, the conclusion is to the roof. Without one, your presentation seems unstructured and incomplete with an empty void.
It is not up to the audience to break down what they’ve heard – that is simply too much cognitive processing required for them. You’ll lose your audience and your entire presentation would have been for nothing.
As the presenter, it is your responsibility to summarize key takeaways and craft a proper presentation conclusion that will leave a lasting impression with your audience.
All effective presentations have a conclusion. Whether it’s an inspirational quote, call to action or a few simple closing words. Nevertheless, you must practice and master the skills of how to end your presentation to join the ranks of master presenters.
To help you on your journey, we’ve put together a list of five ways you should end your presentation whether it be an informal, formal presentation or a virtual presentation. Even though these are only a few ways to end your presentation, they are tried and true based on presentation feedback we have received over the years.
10 Ways To End Your Business Presentation & PowerPoint Presentation
1 – End With A Call To Action
In the world of business, you’ll be presenting to gain new business on a daily occurrence. RFP presentations and client proposals are just some of the presentations you’ll be engaged with. Just like any sales system, closing and asking for the business is the most critical part.
One way to end your presentation, especially in business is with a call to action.
A call to action is when you directly ask the audience what next steps you want them to take. This might be asking them to sign up for a promotion, following you on social media or engaging in some way.
A call to action is a great tool to use to close your presentation as it has a high conversion rate, the message is clear and it keeps the audience engaged.
2 – End With A Compelling Story
We are social creatures and stories are one of the most effective communication channels we use. Presentation psychology shows us that messages told through the use of a story are better remembered since they act on our human emotions and behaviors.
Stories are also great because it helps the audience sympathize with your messaging easier. Since they already have experienced emotions tethered to an event they can relate to, eliciting an emotional response from them will be easier.
3 – Avoid Q&As
Don’t end your presentation with a Q&A.
Question and answer periods are often unstructured. They could discredit your presentation should the questions not be vetted and your main message may get misconstrued.
Luckily, there are alternatives to Q&As which can still offer the same benefits without the uncertainties.
Alternative Ways To Get The Audience’s Attention, Feedback and Increase Engagement
Instead of using an unstructured Q&A period, try using a presentation tool such as Pigeonhole.
Software similar to this can help you filter questions before they’re made visible to the public. This will help you avoid any awkward or unwanted questions.
It can also allow you to ask for questions ahead of the presentation. This can allow you to avoid all questions being submitted at the end and will give you an opportunity to answer questions throughout the presentation.
4 – Come Full Circle With Your Message
Even with a strong opening message, it’s important to come full circle with your message.
As you progress through your presentation, points you mention will start to fade as your audience tries to remember the key points. Unfortunately, there are times where the main points of your presentation do get forgotten.
A way to combat this is to come full circle with your message. At the very beginning of your presentation, you should introduce the argument or message of your presentation similar to a thesis of an essay. As you progress through your presentation with proof points, you are supporting your argument. By the end, your audience might’ve forgotten what the main argument is. Not a problem, simply reintroduce the thesis, argument or key message of your presentation on the final slide for a lasting impression.
5 – Demonstrate Your Product
If your presentation is showcasing a new product or line of services, consider ending with a demonstration or live performance!
This will certainly blow away your audience members and be a strong ending. A perfect example of a presenter who perfected this technique is Steve Jobs.
Not only is ending your presentation with a demonstration a great way for your presentation to conclude, it also provides great additional benefits such as PR.
Also, depending on how your audience learns new things, it will help put into perspective what you just presented. If you talk about the benefits of a new product you’re launching, demonstrating those benefits will help provide context.
6 – Always End On A High Note
Always end a presentation on a high note.
Even if your presentation is covering a grim and dark topic, leave the audience with some positive motivation.
Negative motivation such as having your audience act on fear and anger are not ideal ways to end a presentation. Although considered effective by some marketers, ending on a high note leaves a longer lasting impression.
The last thing people want to hear are bad things. We are already bombarded with negativity on the news and social media. Convey a sense of positivity by ending on a high note.
7 – End With A Thought Provoking Question
Spark a sense of curiosity by asking your audience a relevant thought provoking question.
Asking a thought provoking question is a great way to end a presentation as it sticks with the audience long after everything is finished.
By having the audience fixated on a question, it will keep reminding them of your presentation and what initially sparked that question in the first place.
Remember though, the question should be relevant to what you spoke about.
8 – End With A Powerful Quote
Similar to a question, a quote will leave a lasting impression with your audience.
Sometimes, what you want to be said has already been said in a profound way you can’t top and that’s ok. Adding a quote, especially an impactful quote from someone famous like Julius Caesar helps drive your point across.
9 – End With A Powerful Image
We all know the saying that a picture says a thousand words.
What better way to end a presentation with an image that can leave the audience with their own personalized conclusion.
Ending off with a powerful image lets your audience come to their own conclusion of the presentation. The image might be meaningful as it relates to the topic you’re presenting or might target a specific emotion you want to elicit from them.
10 – End With Clear Next Steps
Similar to a call to action, outlining clear next steps is important for ending a presentation.
Even when you might not require the audience to take action as you would when inputting a call to action, you might want to set clear steps for what you as the presenter will do, what the organization will do or what the audience as individuals will do in a business setting.
Outlining clear next steps holds everyone accountable and it makes things less ambiguous.
You may consider outlining next steps typically in a business presentation.
For example, if you’re pitching to a client on some business you hope for them to buy into, providing a timeline will help put them in a mindset that makes them believe they’re already working with you. Next steps could be what to expect once the contract is signed with clear deliverable dates.
If you’re still not sure on how to end your presentation, consider outsourcing your presentation design to an agency like Presentation Geeks that have years of experience crafting presentations for a variety of industries.
By trusting professional presentation designers, you can be assured that from beginning to end, your presentation will be one to remember and you’ll be on your way to becoming a better presenter.