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What not to do: Don’t say “Thanks for coming.”

There are a whole lot of things we shouldn’t say when we’re presenting. I’m Michelle Bowden and I am an authority on persuasive presenting in business, and welcome to What Not To Do, a segment designed to help you eliminate all those annoying little habits that you’ve picked up over the years and that you should get rid of immediately.

One of the really common things that a lot of presenters say in their presentations is, “Thanks for coming.” Now, you shouldn’t say it. You shouldn’t say it at the start and you shouldn’t say it at the end either. “Why not?” I hear you asking, “After all, isn’t it just manners to thank an audience for coming?” And yes, you’re right it is manners.

There’s a principle in influence called the law of reciprocity and the law of reciprocity states that if I do you some sort of favor, you’re going to owe me in return. If you turn up to my presentation and I’m thankful for that, then I will owe you. When you say to an audience, “Thanks so much for coming today,” or you say to your client, “Thanks for the opportunity to meet with you today.” “Thanks for your attention today.” What you’re implying is that that other person or that audience has done you some kind of a favor, and now the law of reciprocity kicks in and you are going to owe them in return.You have to work hard to pay them back for their generous gesture of turning up today!

Whilst it is nice manners, it does enact the law of reciprocity and it’s safer and easier not to say it. And instead, just be gorgeous. Say to people, “It’s great to see you,” or, “This has been an exciting meeting,” if you want to pick something to say at the end.

And by the way, it’s also a good idea to remove that slide that you’ve got in your standard slide deck that says, “Thank you,” at the end. Once again, it enacts the law of reciprocity and it’s going to imply that you now owe your stakeholders something in return. So don’t say, “Thanks for coming.” Just be gorgeous and welcome them without the words, “thank you”.

Happy presenting!

© Michelle Bowden 2021.  Michelle Bowden is an authority on presentation & persuasion in business. Michelle is a CSP (the highest designation for speakers in the world), Creator of the Persuasion Smart Profile™ (a world-first psychometric indicator that tests your persuasiveness at work), best-selling internationally published author (Wiley), and a regular commentator in print, radio and online media.

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