Give a Great Presentation by Affecting Your Audience Right to the End

By Consumer Dummies

Your conclusion can be soft-spoken or electric, depending on both your personality and your audience, but every type of conclusion should follow these guidelines to be effective.

Conclude, don’t include

If you forgot minor, unimportant pieces of information, don’t add them to your conclusion as afterthoughts. A conclusion wraps up and tightly summarizes what you said and is not a forum for new information. What’s more, if you forget something important and discuss it during your conclusion, your may jeopardize your credibility and leave the audience wondering, “If it was that much of a priority, how could he not have focused on it during the presentation?”

Signal that the end is near

Audiences snap to when they hear the magical words that tell them it’s the beginning of the end. When a presenter says something like, “I’m going to wrap up now with my summary and final thoughts,” listeners perk up with renewed attention, which you can take advantage of. Use transition statements such as the following:

  • “I’ll conclude with the profound quotation of the eminent business giant Catherine Wittner, who said … ”
  • “The main points I want to leave you with before I end are … ”
  • “As I finish up, I want to leave you with a stunning four-minute video that perfectly encapsulates and dramatically amplifies the dire importance of my message to you today … ”
  • “I end today with three recommendations, which are … ”

End it already

Your conclusion should be direct and concise, yet smooth, not choppy. After you alert your group that you’re heading down the homestretch of your talk, conclude with brevity and panache. Some presenters frustrate audiences by giving the impression that things are wrapping up and then continue talking with no sign of ending soon. Some people do this multiple times to the great dismay of the audience.

Be neither meek nor weak

Finish in a confident, strong, and self-assured manner that conveys positivity and optimism. Never apologize or appear submissive as in the following:

  • “I am so sorry it took this long and that we didn’t have enough handouts for all of you, but … ”
  • “I’m embarrassed I forget to prepare details about … ”
  • “This is a new presentation for me, and also I’m not an experienced speaker … ”
  • “Thank you for your patience during my talk.”

Instead, offer a solution, such as, “If you didn’t receive the handouts, please write your email on the list on the table by the exit and I’ll send them to you this evening.” Or “It was a delight to speak with you today about my new responsibilities.”

Leave with a strong message

In certain types of presentations or speeches, a thought-provoking, memorable finale embodies the epitome of the Law of Recency — like the last lyrics of a song or the final words of a play. Consider the following examples of punchy closing statements:

  • “Our company’s debt is a disaster teetering on a precipice. We still have time to avoid economic catastrophe, but only if we act right now. Right now!”
  • “Innovation in your corporation is absolutely critical as never before. Apply it, accelerate it, and benefit from it in ways you’ve never imagined before!”
  • “There are three things to remember about great leadership: Take care of your people [pause], take care of your people [pause], take care of your people. And they will take care of you and your company!”