How you close your presentation depends on why you’re presenting to this audience. If you’re wanting to inform your audience then you’ll want to remind them of the key points of your talk and why they’re important. Alternatively, if you’re looking to persuade them to take some action then you’ll need to summarise what you’ve said, remind them why it’s a good idea to go with your suggestion and give them a way forward.
This is the easiest part of your presentation; you’ve already done the work of informing, persuading or inspiring. And if you don’t happen to have done that well in the talk, an inspiring close may not make any difference!
The close could also be the most important part because you’re leading them to change in some way, either their thinking, feelings or actions.
Clear, short, motivational, even inspirational – these are elements of a good close. You’ve got a few options. Give them a summary of what you’ve said – “so, in summary, we’ve seen that……. “. This should be short and clear. Don’t go over all the logic of your argument again, just give them the points. Counting off the options on your fingers is a good visual aid.
If you started with a Key Message, end with that. Or if you opened with a quotation then end with that way. Sometimes the easiest way to close is to go back to your opening.
Why not challenge them to consider your points, or more probably, get into action. “So I challenge you to…… let’s get out there and do it!”. This must be said with passion and conviction.
A combination of these ideas will work well. So, a summary followed by a challenge, followed by “Thank you!” which is the simplest close of all.
But whichever you choose, make sure that it fits your talk, and then learn it word for word, so you can look into the eyes of your audience to urge them to act.
Even though the close may be the easiest part of your presentation to plan, please don’t ignore it; if you want your audience to be moved then you must plan that move!