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Presentation Skills: Your Presentation Conclusion

Posted by on March 7, 2012

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Presentation SkillsLast time, we finished up your presentation body, explaining how to piece together supporting information in a way that really speaks to your audience. Now that you’ve finished the bulk of your presentation, it’s time to address the conclusion. It is just as important as the rest of your presentation, and should be considered carefully. Remember, the conclusion is the last thought you share with your audience, and what they are most likely to remember.

Unfortunately, many presentations do not conclude—they just stop, sputter and die, or worse, ramble on and on. Many excellent presentations have been ruined by a weak conclusion. The purpose of the conclusion is to summarize and ensure that you’ve met your objective. A good strong conclusion adds the finishing touch to an excellent presentation. There are four important steps to an effective conclusion:

  • Summarize key points
  • Restate action steps
  • Ask for questions
  • Give a final conclusion

Summarizing Key Points

This is the first step when concluding. In a clear, concise manner, you must tell the audience what you just told them. When you restate the key points, you should be as brief as you were in the agenda. Do not bring in any new points! You don’t want to introduce anything new at this point in time.

Restating the Action Step

Reiterate the action request you made in the introduction. Be sure your action step is assertive and positive, such as, “I’m sure you’ll agree…” or, “As I have explained…” Restating your action step at the conclusion ensures a strong, active finish. It encourages your audience to move ahead on your request.

Asking for Questions

When you reach your conclusion, it’s important that you open up your presentation to questions from the audience. They may need clarification or more information, and it’s a great way to make them feel included. We will go into more detail on question/answer sessions in our next Presentation Skills blog post.

Final Conclusion

Yes, this whole article is about your presentation conclusion, but your final conclusion is the “end of the end.” You should restate your action request once more, and be sure to thank your audience.

Remember to have your conclusion clearly in your mind before you begin your presentation. You want to be sure you conclude as strongly as you began.

Delivery Tips for the Conclusion

Use a flip chart to summarize your key points. It will keep you and your audience well organized.

Use assertive, positive language when stating the action you want them to take, i.e., “I believe,” “I know,” “I’m confident,” “I’m sure,” not “I think,” or “I hope.”

I personally believe it is essential to get hands-on, practical training in the classroom to bring these concepts to life.

Karen Holmes is a U.S.-based CGWA Senior Consultant and Trainer, delivering programs such as  Coaching, Interpersonal Communication Skills, Positive Power and Influence, Presentation Skills, and many more.