The conclusion part is one of the significant and important aspects in a presentation other than the introduction. People remember best the last thing they hear and the last thing you say.
In closing a speech or a presentation, it should be more than simply closing it or telling the audience that it is over. You should leave a take-home message or drive them back to the main points and wrap up the talk in full circle to the main objectives.
Let us find out some helpful techniques in wrapping up a presentation and making a graceful exit. It is important to note the different parts of a good conclusion and how to leave a lasting impression.
What Makes Up a Good Closing?
The conclusion should consist of four parts. The first part is to deliver a good summary. Recap the key points and provide a concise reminder of what you wanted them to remember from your presentation. The summary has to be just a few short lines, enough to make the audience retain the key messages.
The second part is to present a short conclusion. If you compare it to a children’s story, the lesson learned at the end of the story is like the conclusion in your speech. You may deliver a message that is a realization of the ideas and opinions developed in your presentation. It could be a commentary, lesson learned, recommendations, and suggestions. Other presenters quote some famous lines from well-known figures. When you do this, always credit the source of the quote. The message should leave your audience thinking or reflecting on your speech.
Thanking the audience for their presence is the third element of a good closing. The audience appreciates it if their attendance is recognized even with just a simple expression of gratitude.
The last part of the closing is the Q and A session. Though entertaining questions sometimes happen during the course of the presentation, most presenters prefer to allocate time for the session usually after the presentation has been wrapped up. Professionals are always prepared in answering any type of question asked. But in the process of entertaining questions, always consider the factors of audience size, time constraint, and the nature of the topic for your presentation.
Style in Closing a Presentation
Before going any further on the tips on how to make a good closing, think back on the objectives you have set for your presentation. As earlier mentioned, the wrapping up should lead it all back to the objectives.
Now, if the main objective is simply to inform or educate, the best thing to do is follow the four parts of the closing and you should be good to go with your exit. If the main goal is to persuade them and make a call to action, let them know what to do or what the next step is in the part where you are to give a conclusion.
For a sales presentation, the approach should be a lot more aggressive. Another technique is to use a leading question that will make them think about getting the product or not, agreeing with your idea or not.
Some failed closing in a presentation may have lacked something to enhance its impact. A simple “thank you” followed by “Questions?” will leave your audience unsure of the next step. This triggers confusion so better avoid it.
Another style you would not want to use is asking them “What do you think?” since the audience will have the tendency to think of a negative response or analyze the flaws you committed during the presentation. Lastly, the question “So?” will lessen the credibility on your part. So, drop that technique instead.
Leave a Lasting Impression on Your Closing
Always remember that the closing must leave a good lasting impression. A presenter should end the presentation on a strong note and with a strong impact just as you kick off with a good start. This has to be well-rehearsed during the preparation.
A strong opening gets the attention of the audience and will lead them to the key points of your topic. A strong conclusion will remind them of these key points. In other cases, when appropriate for the mood of the presentation, ending it with a humor will also create a good impact on the audience.