25 Sep How do you close, wrap up, or finish a business presentation?

When it comes time for the finish to your business presentation do you know what to say so that the audience remember your message and take the action you desire?

An important step in structuring an influential presentation is to ensure you close with strength.

Unfortunately most presenters don’t make the most of this important part of the presentation. The result is that the presentation ends with low energy and people can feel a bit flat. I’m sure you have heard a business presenter finish saying, ‘thank you’ and then everyone just nods, gets up and walks out! They go straight back to their desk or straight on to the next meeting and don’t give another thought to the content of that presentation they just sat through for an hour. What a waste of everyone’s time!

I believe there are 6 critical steps to include in the close of your presentation. Let’s go through them here…

Other information – Firstly think about adding any extra information that you want to cover, but that doesn’t really fit in the body of your presentation. This could be extra facts, data, interesting tips that make the content more rich and engaging. At this time in the presentation you can also give your contact details so the audience knows how to get in touch with you if they want to discuss your presentation further. This could include your website, intranet access code or email address for example. And if you are thinking of saying ‘thank you’ at some stage in the presentation then it’s also where you say something like: ‘it’s been my pleasure speaking with you today’.

Note: ‘thank you’ implies that you ‘owe’ the audience for coming so it’s better to just say something like, ‘this has been a wonderful opportunity for us to discuss….’

Summary – You probably know that thanks to the law of primacy and recency, your audience is more likely to remember the first or last thing you say. In fact Michael Grinder – an amazing speaking coach from the US explained to me when I worked with him that there’s some research around that suggests that people’s attention peaks when they think you’re nearly finished! So a great tip, is to say some sort of transitional phrase like: “in summary…” to spark people’s attention and wake them up again!

The summary should include your three key messages so the audience remember the important points from what you’ve said throughout the presentation.

Call to action – This is where you ask your audience to do the thing you want them to do. It could be to ‘endorse your recommendations’, ‘implement the strategy immediately’, ‘refer you to their colleagues’, ‘buy your product or service’ or whatever behaviour you require as a result of this presentation. Don’t be shy – if you don’t ask, they might not know you want them to do it!

Question and Answer – This is where you facilitate the question and answer session. Remember the Q&A and it can be one of the best parts of your presentation if you prepare properly. For more information on how to effectively run a Q&A take a read through my best selling book called How to Present.

Negative and Positive Consequences – This is where you explain to the audience what will happen if they do (and don’t do) what you’re suggesting.

Closing Statement – Your closing statement should be uplifting, short and punchy and should link to your opening so the audience knows it’s the end without a slide that says: ‘the end’!

Note: It’s a good idea to refrain from calling your audience to action again in your close. They heard you in the call to action and won’t generally appreciate being ‘sold’ to!

Next time you present, have a look at these 6 steps and try implementing them so you set yourself up to be a powerful presenter who motivates.

Happy Presenting!