A weak finish is like a limp handshake

Have you ever heard these words at the end of a presentation?

“Well, I think that’s about it from me. Thanks for listening and enjoy the rest of your day”

What does that mean? Where’s the call to action?

This phrase was used at an event I was at to close a presentation that had a really important message, but because the presenter was a bit nervous they dragged out the ‘close’ and left the audience gathering their belongings to move onto the next workshop.

No matter what your presentation is about, there is always a purpose, and it’s important to re-state that purpose at the end so that people don’t drift off absent-mindedly and forget all about you. There are several reasons why you might be presenting, but it’s never just to wish people a nice day.

Introduce a new product
Raise awareness of an issue or cause
Encourage them to support something

In the example above, the speaker was telling the story of how she became the most senior woman ever in a male dominated industry. A much better finish would have been something like ‘I hope my story has inspired you to reach for the top. I encourage you to take the next opportunity that comes along, even if it scares you. In fact, especially if it scares you!’

Practice your final sentence until you feel really comfortable with it. Those are the last words people will hear, and are most likely to remember. Someone whose attention has wandered throughout the presentation might only hear those words. Make them count.