How to avoid a damp squib ending to your presentation

Sudden endings can ruin a presentation

Sudden endings can ruin a presentation

The end of a presentation can feel very much like falling off a cliff: you’ve got some solid content that you tread through,  then suddenly there’s nothing.   Often you’ll find yourself calling into the gap beyond with ‘Any questions?’

Although dealing with questions is a separate post,  one way to avoid this call into the abyss is to ask a question that reinforces your key point, such as:

“I’m often asked whether we need to change strategy at all if what we have is getting us by.   And that’s the point… We can more than ‘get by’:  diversifying  offers an exciting opportunity to grow,  learn and secure a more profitable future.  Who wouldn’t want that?”

The 3 point closure provides a neat conclusion, using a rhetorical question as the full stop.   Do ensure that the key message re-emphasises what’s in it for your audience.

Avoid self-aggrandising ‘questions’, as in the following example:

‘People ask me why I’m so brilliant.   It’s partly nature and a bit of nurture.   Thanks and goodbye’.

Looks like there’s a humility drought here in a desert of ego.   Where’s the reinforcement of audience benefit?

This is not dissimilar from a real example I recall from a motivational speaker:

“People ask me how they can be more like me…” I can’t remember the rest.  I think I was out the room by then.

 

A word about the 3 point closure:

The three point closure allows for a distinctive end to your presentation.   This avoids having it hanging incomplete in the ether, leaving your audience confused as to whether you’ve finished or not.

For example in Winston Churchill’s famous blood,  sweat and tears speech, what he actually said was “I can promise you Blood, Sweat, Toil and Tears”.   We lost the toil and actually only recall ‘blood,  sweat and tears’  for the same reason that we remember ‘A Mars a day helps you work,  rest and play’. (or ‘your teeth rot away’ although that calls upon rhythm and rhyme more as a mnemonic).

 

To sum up:

  1. Ask a question that reinforces the key benefit to the audience
  2. Use a rule of 3 within the answer
  3. You can also add devices like rhetorical questions or quotes to provide a clear ending.

So these 3 devices will give your words more weight….and who wouldn’t want that?!

 

2 replies
  1. Elizabeth Kuhnke
    Elizabeth Kuhnke says:

    Alison – I LOVE your newsletters and your advice is spot on! Your clients are lucky to work with you and if you want any introductions, let me know.

    Reply

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