Knowing how to end a presentation is probably even more important that knowing how to begin it. Often the ending is what your audience will remember most vividly about the presentation, and will set the mood for how they reflect on your message. Because of this, the end of your presentation should be memorable and powerful. Here are 7 tips for how to end a presentation so that your message will stick.
1. Use an inspirational quote.
This is especially effective if the quote is one that your audience has likely heard before. Using a well-known quote (as long as it really is connected to the core message of your presentation) can make your speech really stick with your audience. You should use caution when selecting your quote. Avoid misusing or misinterpreting the quote, as that could backfire on you. You should also make sure that it’s properly attributed. When delivering the quote, cite the original author.
2. Review your main points.
If you can go back over the main points of your presentation succinctly and quickly, this is a good way to refresh your audience. After all, these points are the core of the presentation, so it’s important that your audience remembers them. If it’s possible, arrange these points into an acronym. This is easy for people to remember and is a clean way to tie everything together.
3. Tell a story.
End your presentation by telling a story. This brings a human element to your presentation, and can show that your topic can impact real people in real situations. This can be your own personal story, or someone else’s—either can work. Just make sure you’re bringing the audience in with a more relatable aspect to your presentation.
4. Have a call to action.
When you’re trying to convince people to do something, it’s very effective to end your presentation with a call to action. A call to action inspires people and will encourage them to do what you’ve been talking about. Be forceful and firm in this part of your presentation. You don’t want to be too intimidating, but you want to make sure that you’re getting your point across in a way that will make your audience members want to take action and follow your lead. When using a call to action, it’s most effective when you’re as specific as possible. For example, if you’re asking people to write a letter to their member of congress about a particular issue, don’t just say, “Write a letter when you get home today.” Instead, display the address to which the letter should be sent, give them an overview of what they should say in the letter, and say multiple times that it should be done as soon as possible. This makes it easier for people to follow your suggestion.
5. Be emotional.
This doesn’t mean you should stand in front of your audience and cry or scream. But do let your voice carry the full range of emotions that you feel about the topic of your speech. If you’re asking people to volunteer time at a children’s hospital, consider letting your voice convey some of the emotions surrounding that topic. Express the sadness and bravery of the situation, not with your words, but with your tone. This lends a sense of sincerity to your presentation that words alone can’t give it.
6. Thank everyone.
This should be a no-brainer, but people forget to do this all the time. When you’re done with a presentation, be genuine, and thank your audience for their time and attention. Don’t be too offhand about it; take a few moments to express your thanks. If appropriate, thank the organization that put the event together, thank the people that gave you the space, and other people who gave you the opportunity to speak. This leaves people with a positive impression of you.
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