By doing one (or more) of these:
- Ending a presentation with Q&A
- Saying, “Well, that's it.”
- Saying, “Thank you for your time.”
- Running off the stage with no real conclusion.
- Concluding with a sales pitch.
I've done all of these at one point in my speaking career. I blew it with my audience. I'm most guilty of ending with Q&A. Do you want your audience to remember some wing-nut question or something that adds value to their life?
The conclusion of your presentation is what your audience members remember most. This is called, “The Recency Effect.” The conclusion needs to be memorable. Leave them with a message that sticks.
We've discussed the BIG IDEA statement.Your conclusion is KEY to reinforcing your idea. The conclusion should contain 3 parts: Summary, Call to Action (or Pitch) and Remarkable Close.
Summarizing your speech
The summary doesn't need to be long or detailed. It should reinforce your BIG IDEA statement and briefly recap the supporting points. Don't be boring. Don't say “In summary, I discussed this, that and that other forgettable thing.” First, it's not conversational. Second, it's not memorable. Third, it sucks. Think about how you can use a story to summarize your big idea or a metaphor. Be creative. The conclusion is not the place to skimp on creative impact.
Craft a call to action
I'm going to discuss calls to action in great depth in the next few weeks, but here is a crappy call to action. “We've seen the importance of not feeding Gremlins after midnight. We can sign the petition or visit the website or donate money. But we must stop the Gremlin problem soon.”
The problem with that call to action:
- It does not address one person – remember we is the tiny word that murders persuasion and sales.
- It gives more than one action to take. Tell them exactly what you want them to do. One thing only. Giving them 3 options is a surefire way to guarantee analysis paralysis.
- There's no sense of urgency. Soon? How soon is soon? Do we need to take action now or 3 months from now?
Calls to action need to include the magical word “you.” Give ONE clear action to take and create a sense of now or never.
Don't end with a pitch – Leave them with a tip
Do not end with your pitch. It's a bit sleazy. If you're speaking to sell your wares, make the pitch and end with a memorable tip. This can be a quote, encouragement or something they will value. It should also be related and reinforce your BIG IDEA statement. The tip is a remarkable way to close your presentation.
Leaving a lasting impression. Creatively summarize the value you shared, craft a call to action that has impact and never end with pitch. Always be creating value even at the very end of your speech.
Want more help? Check out this slideshare I created about concluding your presentation powerfully!