How To Avoid Awkward Endings

Presentations can end horribly:  the speaker halts abruptly, a sudden black screen shows, dead silence awakes the dormant public. Undesirable though they are, such endings of speeches and presentations are not uncommon. This posts tells you how to avoid such awkward endings by keeping in mind three simple steps: announce the end, include a closing slide and thank explicitly.

A. Announce the end

The final words of your presentation should not come unexpected. Announce the end in your presentation with a smooth “Finally, I want to tell…”. Make sure however, you still have something new to talk about. The words “Summarizing…” and “To repeat my point…”  are a signal to the public that you will not be telling anything interesting they haven’t heard  yet. Rather, use a phrase like “Finally, my most important point…”.

B. Use a closing slide

Powerpoint will offer the public a very unprofessional empty black screen once you’ve gone through the slides. You can avoid this screen by having a decent final slide that invites the public to answer questions, summarizes your message or wraps up the story with a nice image or sentence. The final slide might be up for quite some time, e.g. during the Q&A session, so pay enough attention to the content and design.

C. Say “thank you”

You can end your presentation with a great slogan or smart joke, but most importantly, the audience should feel you’ve finished. Just halting can also mean you’re taking a small break, leading to confusion among the public and hesitation to clap. Instead, try to wrap up with a very clear “thank you” to indicate that the last word has been spoken and you’ll receive instant, full applause.

So, to avoid awkward endings you should announce the end, include a closing slide and thank the audience explicitly.

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