How should I end a presentation

presentationHow to close a lecture

How do we go about it? First we think about who our listeners are: What motivates them? What is important to you? What are your goals? When we have developed a good understanding of the motives and needs of our audience, we tailor our core messages to this group of recipients. The core message of a presentation with the aim of motivating the audience to "phase out coal" should be different at the shareholders' meeting of an energy company than at a Fridays For Future event. While it can be helpful in the first case to focus on the high yield prospects of sustainable energy generation, the message would be “Coal exit! Now! Immediately! ”Is certainly more helpful in the second case.

That with the messages would have been clarified. But how do we do it with the end in general? The basic structure of the presentation closure basically works as follows: We begin the end with a short summary of the lecture, which merges into the core message of our presentation. After the final applause, we move on to the question and answer section. For example, the structure for preparing a conclusion could look like this: (1) That brings me to the last part of my presentation ... (2) As you can see from my presentation, point 1, point 2, point 3 show that…; (3) In conclusion, I would like to emphasize again ... (here we tie in with the core messages of our presentation); (4) Wait for applause and (5) move on to the question and answer section. If we consider this scheme, we are already on a solid foundation for a grand finale.

For a really effective conclusion that the audience will remember for a long time, I recommend the additional use of an anchor. This can be, for example, a story that summarizes the key messages in a narrative way or reproduces them symbolically, a picture that you paint in the mind of the audience or any other statement that the audience will remember and which they associate with your presentation.

I will explain this using an example: I was recently a guest speaker at a forum on digital transformation in public administration. As is well known, we in Germany have not yet arrived where we would like to be in this field - especially considering the level of development and the country's economic strength. With that I started the last part of the presentation (1) and presented the essential aspects again (2). For the core message (3) of the presentation, I have chosen a success story that fits my desired closing message and contains motivating elements for the audience. It was about the crisis Microsoft almost slipped into during the boom of the Internet, because the company more than overslept this change at the beginning - for Bill Gates the Internet was just a hype, which the company therefore paid little attention to . However, when he realized that he was fundamentally wrong, he prescribed a fundamental change for Microsoft. Although many thought it was already too late, the company quickly realigned itself and continues to be one of the heavyweights in the IT and Internet industries.

My final words to the audience after the story were: “Ladies, gentlemen, the moral of the story brings me to the end of my presentation: We are not yet where we would like to be, but we will make it too. Because ... "Then I paused for a moment and clicked on the last slide of the presentation, which read in large letters:" The early bird catches the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese. " I transferred applause (4) to the question and answer section (5). The story and the statement burned themselves into the audience and firmly anchored the core of my presentation with them. I would never have achieved this effect with “Thank you for your attention”; Worse still, I would have ended my presentation with an impersonal and ineffective phrase that would have pushed me from the peak of effective presentation into the endless valley of mediocrity.