Welcome to part one of a four-part series on the best formula for a presentation closing that resonates.
Every great singer opens with their second-best song and closes with their best.
In a perfect world, your close will be a highlight of your speech. This way you increase the likelihood that you will look out and see your audience leap to their feet applauding. Bill Gove, the first president of the National Speakers Association, told me, “A standing ovation says more about the audience than the speaker.” In other words, a mediocre speech can receive an ovation from a direct sales organization, whereas the best-crafted presentation delivered to enthusiastic accountants mostly likely will not.
There is, however, a surefire formula that you can rely on to close your presentation.
Six-step formula to captivate your audience at the end of your presentation:
Ask a rhetorical question.
Ask your audience a rhetorical question based on your premise. For example, “How do you perfect your presentation skills?” This helps the audience focus on the premise of your presentation.
“How can you double your sales with your existing database?”
“How can you, as a leader, inspire action and commitment in your team?”
“How can payroll managers sell themselves and their ideas to upper management?
“How can you make this year your BEST year?
Now your audience is refocused on your premise.
Review your points of wisdom.
As you revisit your talking points, tie them into your examples. We recommend you build rehearsal into your everyday life. For example, “Would rehearsing on the treadmill work for you?”
“Record your presentations and review them as if you were looking at another speaker. What is that speaker doing well? What would you encourage them to do to improve?”
“As a sales professional, beware of data decay. Review bounced emails when you send out your monthly customer updates.”
“Remember Roger? After he implemented the four strategies you have been introduced to, he became the top realtor in his city. They are 1, 2, 3, 4 . . .”
Challenge your audience.
Remind the audience about the benefits of taking your advice and why your information is relevant to their concerns. You may want to say, “Thank you for your active participation and enthusiasm for our subject. I challenge you to take your notes and reread them while you can still read your handwriting!”
I recommend that you teach one of your friends or colleagues what you have learned. Teaching someone else is the best way to reinforce ideas. Create an action plan, and prioritize what you want to implement first.
“For a prize, who would like to announce publicly the first action they will take to implement the new sales plan?”
Yes, rewarding participation is a good practice. The best leadership lesson works in presentations. Performance that is rewarded tends to be repeated.
Yes, again, I recommend you use the word “challenge.” This builds on the natural competitive nature of most humans.
Call to action.
This ties into the challenge. Make sure you give specific next steps that will help your audience implement what they have learned. Invite them to make a decision and act right now.
Q and A
After your review, assume that your audience will have questions. As with an in-person presentation, always review your key ideas with a virtual audience before concluding. Then ask, “Before my closing remarks, what questions do you have?”
Part four of four coming soon
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