by Adam Noar
When you give a PowerPoint presentation, you want to go out with a bang.
iPhone maker, Apple often likes to finish up their presentations by bringing out huge musical guests, such as U2, to perform on stage (as seen in its Apple Watch announcement). However, the truth is you don’t need to spend that kind of money to leave your audience feeling excited.
The ending of your presentation is one of the most important elements of a presentation. In order for it to be a success, it needs to motivate people to action by appealing to their hearts and minds. So, how can you end your presentation on a high note and in a way that moves your audience? Here are a few PowerPoint closing tips:
Repetition is a key technique in closing presentations. However, it’s often overlooked because presenters are more focused in cramming more content in a short amount of time. If you want your presentation to be memorable, always ask yourself “what would you like your audience to remember or takeaway?” This kind of ending can either revisit some of your key points, or can simply be a repeated phrase that leaves a strong emotional impact. Remember Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech? He actually repeated that phrase 5 times during his speech at the “March on Washington.”
Leave Them Hopeful
Whether you are delivering good news or a difficult message, it’s always good to end your presentation on a positive or hopeful note. For example, you may have to inform your team that profits are down. This does not mean you need to leave your listeners feeling unmotivated and unhappy. Instead, consider ending on a hopeful message (e.g., the announcement of an upcoming product launch) that encourages and uplifts your audience, inspiring them to take action.
You can’t go wrong with a book-end closure! What am I talking about? A book-end closure means opening and concluding your presentation with a common element.
Here are ways to open and close your presentation using the “bookend” technique:
- Ask a question, and answer it.
- Use similar quotations.
- Use similar concept or theme.
- Open and close with humor.
- Open and close with a fun fact.
- Open and close with a statistic.
- Wrap up a story.
Give your audience a sense of closure by repeating your opening statement, or referring back to an introductory idea. You remind your audience by taking them on a verbal journey back to your powerful opening. This kind of closing is also known as a “bookend,” because it wraps up the speech in the same or similar way as the start.
End on the Call to Action
Your call to action is an important element of a presentation. So, why not make it the last thing your audience hears? Your last message can be anything from visiting your website to donating money. You can encompass anything you want your audience to do when they are finished listening to your speech.
Here are four elements of a great call to action:
Make it Emotional -Make your audience feel that they are going to be part of something that does good, or make them feel a part of something.
Make it Urgent –Make your audience feel as if they need to take immediate action. That way you they will be less likely to forget your message.
Have an Incentive -What’s in it for them? Be sure that the incentives for your call to action are appealing to your specific audience.
Make it Clear -Be direct and brief with your call to action.
Use a Quotation
Another way to end a presentation or speech is with a good quote. These can be humorous, serious, or ironic, but they will almost always be easy to remember and make it seem as if you fully prepared for the event. A quote can also serve to reinforce the other ideas mentioned in this article. A quote may also support a call-to-action.
End With a Question
Ending your presentation with a question and speaking directly to you audience is another powerful technique. Leaving your audience with a real or hypothetical question could keep their brains pondering long after the presentation. For example, one question you can ask your audience is “what are you going to do about it?”
Tell a Story
As you may already know, storytelling is a very powerful tool. So why not open a presentation with a story and finish the story you began in the introduction. Finish on a memorable note and focus on an emotionally meaningful ending.
No matter how you choose to end your presentation, finish strong by keeping your exit brief and leaving your audience talking or thinking about your presentation.
U2 Image (remixed by Adam Noar) by Robert Hensly
Steve Jobs by engadget
U2 Image #2 (remixed by Adam Noar) by jcookfisher