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Most people focus on the opening of their presentation, talk or speech. They practice over and over, until they can recite those lines in their sleep. (For rehearsal help, check out some out-of-the-box rehearsal techniques that are guaranteed to up your awesome.)
Instead, here’s the more likely scenario:
Rather than the natural crescendo of excitement rising from the crowd, you get cut off by the room moderator, ’cause you’ve gone over the time limit. The audience rushes out the door to the next session. You mumble a harried “thanks so much for coming, send me an email if you have any questions….” while packing up your materials.
The close of your presentation is when you reinforce the importance of your message, inspire/motivate your audience and deliver a can’t-resist call to action. It’s your chance to leave them buzzing about you and your content.
Don’t leave it to chance! Instead, practice your close, making sure you hit these three things:
You might think that you hit your big ideas hard during your presentation. Not hard enough from the audience’s perspective.
When you repeat the big ideas from your talk, you’re cementing them in your participants’ minds, effectively telling them what to remember and reminding them of the value you delivered.
Watch Steve Jobs unveiling the first iPod. Just how many times in this nine minute speech does he repeat the game changing Big Idea, the one that encapsulates his revolutionary product?
“One thousand songs. By the way, it fits in your pocket.”
“One thousand songs in your pocket.”
“One thousand songs. In your pocket.”
And at the end, “This amazing little device holds a thousand songs. And it goes right in my pocket.”
Whether you’re delivering an educational presentation or a motivational speech, you want to change your audience in some way. Maybe it’s a new approach, a new attitude or new ideas.
Inspiration is a powerful force. It’s the fuel that can power us through challenges and propel us to achieve our big goals.
Be the spark for your audience, the one that sets them on fire to take that first step.
Don’t leave ’em hanging! Tell your audience exactly what to do next to put your information and ideas into action.
Should they book a free consultation? Download a PDF? Buy a book? Call their congressman? The audience has just devoted thirty, sixty, ninety minutes with you. They are looking for a return on their time investment, so make sure you provide purpose to your talk by creating an irresistible call to action.
Close out with your and the room’s energy high, not already on the next session or lunch break.
Test out your next talk on friends and colleagues. Ask them if you’ve hit these three elements in your close. Then give yourself a high five and get ready to command the spotlight!